Chris Lowery is Indiana’s New Commissioner for Higher Education

Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 3:05 PM

By Indiana Commission for Higher Education, news release

Lowery, a Batesville resident, has been with Ivy Tech since 2014.

Chris Lowery. Photo provided.

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Commission for Higher Education unanimously voted to hire Chris Lowery as the state’s seventh Commissioner for Higher Education during its monthly Commission meeting on March 10.

Lowery replaces outgoing Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, who announced her departure in late 2021 and served in the role for nearly 13 years. As senior vice president of workforce, careers and adult strategy at Ivy Tech Community College, Lowery has led the college’s workforce and career initiatives and organization. 

“Alignment between education and workforce is critical to making Indiana a leader in attracting and developing talent,” said Gov. Eric J. Holcomb. “Chris is uniquely experienced and positioned to continue advancing this vital work. He understands the role higher education must play in the skills and ability necessary for Indiana to compete in the global economy. I’m grateful he’s stepped up to take on this most important assignment.”

The Commission conducted a national search led by a six-member search committee, which subsequently recommended Lowery to the full Commission for a vote of approval and appointment. Members of the 14-person Commission are gubernatorial appointees.

Prior to his current role, Lowery served as Ivy Tech’s chancellor of the Columbus and Southeast regions. Before joining Ivy Tech, Lowery served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Batesville Community School Corp. and was a founder of the Batesville Community Education Foundation. Before working in higher education, Lowery led public policy and engagement for Hillenbrand, Inc. and served as an aide to former Indiana Governor Robert D. Orr and then-Senator Dan Quayle.

“Under the leadership of Commissioner Lubbers, and in partnership with the incredible higher education institutions in our state, great advancements have been made in terms of completions, Indiana’s postsecondary attainment rate and the focus on access through programs such as 21st Century Scholars,” said Lowery. “Building on this strong foundation, much work remains to be done. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by members of the Commission to follow Commissioner Lubbers and to serve in this leadership role at such an important time in our history.”

In his new role, Lowery will focus on college affordability and ensuring quality higher education is delivered and tied to career relevance as the Commission continues its efforts to realize the state’s goal of at least 60 percent of Hoosiers with quality education and training beyond high school. Along with addressing declining college-going rates, the Commission will concentrate on increasing the number of adult learners who earn a degree or credential beyond a high school diploma.

“Indiana’s colleges and universities provide much of the fuel in terms of education, training and research to support individual growth, investments and innovations of employers,” said Lowery. “By bringing together leaders from our higher education institutions, employers, K-12 partners, nonprofits, philanthropy, government and other stakeholders, we can blur the lines and increase the value proposition of higher education.”

Pursuant to IC 21-18-5-4, the Commission is the authorized body to approve and appoint the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education as its Chief Executive Officer.

“Chris has a genuine passion for education and public service. He is a proven leader and brings a unique blend of experiences and skills that will enable him to continue the great work of the Commission in elevating the educational achievement of Hoosiers,” said Commission Chairman Mike Alley.

Lubbers – Indiana’s sixth higher education commissioner since its founding in 1951 – will conclude her service at the end of March and Lowery will assume the role of Commissioner for Higher Education in mid-April.

“Tackling the challenges facing higher education and developing a more prepared workforce will require leadership that is experienced, visionary and innovative,” said Lubbers. “Chris Lowery is uniquely prepared to be that kind of leader, bringing to the role a clear focus on increasing opportunity and student success.”

Lowery began at Ivy Tech in 2014. During his time at the nation’s largest singly accredited community college, completions increased by approximately 85 percent between 2016 and 2021 with a focus on high-demand credentials. Lowery led vision and strategy for the college’s workforce, careers and adult strategy organization. Through these efforts, he created the Career Coaching and Employer Connections framework and raised $15 million for the program.

“After an exceptional career spanning government and corporate America, Chris has spent the last eight years in higher education gaining an understanding of and vision for postsecondary education as a pathway to prosperity for Hoosiers and our state's economy,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “Indiana’s higher education institutions and students will benefit from his wise counsel and leadership at the Commission as we continue to ensure Indiana has the talented workforce aligned with employer needs.”

Lowery holds an undergraduate degree in public affairs from Indiana University Bloomington’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a master’s in management at Indiana Wesleyan University’s DeVoe School of Business. He and his wife, Jerilyn reside in Batesville and Indianapolis. View his full bio here.

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