Joyce Ester Named President of Normandale Community College

Posted: May 21, 2014

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 21, 2014 – The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities today appointed Joyce Ester as president of Normandale Community College.  Her appointment becomes effective August 2, 2014.

In recommending Ester’s appointment as president, Chancellor Steven Rosenstone said: “Joyce Ester is an inclusive, transparent, and collaborative leader with a proven commitment to the success of all students. She will work together with students, faculty, and staff to build on Normandale’s many strengths, and she will develop strong community partnerships that will greatly benefit both the college and the community.”

Dr. Ester was the president of Kennedy-King College, one of seven colleges within the City Colleges of Chicago district, from 2011 until 2013. Previously, she served as associate vice president for student services at Bakersfield College (CA) from 2010 to 2011, as assistant vice president for judicial affairs and division planning at California State University, Fresno, from 2007 to 2010, and as assistant dean of students/judicial affairs at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1995 to 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northern Illinois University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I am tremendously excited for the opportunity to lead this outstanding college and I look forward to working closely with the faculty and staff to advance our standards of academic excellence at Normandale,” said Dr. Ester. “Together, we will continue to provide new pathways to student success and collaborate with business partners and the community to meet community, industry, and workforce demands.”

Located in the Twin Cities, Normandale Community College enrolls nearly 15,000 students, making it one of the largest community colleges in Minnesota. The college has received numerous state workforce development grants, as well as National Science Foundation and Health and Human Services grants. It has a strong history of student success including transfer within MnSCU as well as to many other top state and national colleges and universities. A recently completed 76,000 square foot Partnership Center is home to several bachelor and master degree programs in partnership with MnSCU universities. The Partnership Center was part of over $50 million invested from 2011 to 2013 to enhance the experience and increase academic opportunities for students.

Joyce Ester

 Dr. Ester succeeds Joe Opatz who has served as president of Normandale Community College since 2007 and has announced his intention to retire on August 1, 2014.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 24 two-year community, technical, and comprehensive colleges and seven state universities serving more than 430,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.