College President Selected as Aspen Fellow

September 20, 2023

By PR Office

West President Selected for Aspen Institute Presidents Fellowship

Building Transformational Capacity with Community College Leaders

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This year has been full of special honors for West Los Angeles College. The community college in Culver City was named to the Aspen Institute Top 150 list of community colleges. President Barak Obama once described the Aspen Prize as “basically the Oscars for great community colleges.”  This was followed by the college being granted permission to offer a second Bachelor’s degree. WLAC now offers Bachelor’s degrees in Dental Hygiene and Avionics, making it quite unique amongst its peers. This week, they were again honored by the prestigious Aspen Institute with an announcement that WLAC President James M. Limbaugh was selected to be part of the inaugural class of The Aspen Presidents Fellowship. This program, made possible with support from JPMorgan Chase, focuses on developing a sustainable and comprehensive reform agenda that advances excellence and equity in student outcomes at scale.

This class of fellows represents the diversity of our nation’s community colleges. They lead institutions across 14 states that collectively educate over 280,000 students in incredibly varied settings, from a rural college of 700 students to an urban one with enrollment over 24,000. The incoming class of Presidents Fellows is 56 percent women and 44 percent people of color. 

Selected through a competitive process, the fellows will, over 12 months, work closely with a faculty of leading community college presidents and senior staff from the Aspen Institute. They will learn about and compare their practices to those of field-leading colleges; analyze their students’ graduation and post-graduation outcomes, and advance their priority reforms aimed at delivering excellent and equitable student outcomes. 

"I'm privileged to be a member of the inaugural cohort of the Aspen Institute's Presidents Fellowship as West builds on its Aspen Top 150 designation and continues our focus on equity and student success," said Dr. Limbaugh.

Dr. James M. “Jim” Limbaugh has been president of West Los Angeles College, a diverse urban university-transfer and career education community college of 10,000 students, since October 2016. During his tenure, the college has established two baccalaureate degree programs, developed an associate degree in climate change studies (the only such program in California), and created the California Center for Climate Change Education, designed to support California’s 116 community colleges in curricula design, workforce development, and advocacy initiatives, with a collective focus on social justice.

“Scaled improvements in student outcomes at our nation’s community colleges requires excellent leadership,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “I am continually inspired and motivated by the dedication and expertise that our fellows bring to the work of advancing excellence and equity on their campuses, and I look forward to supporting them as they improve outcomes for their students.”

JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic support for the Aspen Presidential Fellowship is part of the firm’s New Skills at Work initiative to prepare young people for the future of work and meet the growing demand for skilled workers, and the $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity and drive an inclusive economy. 



West Los Angeles College is an ACCJC accredited California Community College that offers career certificates and Associate degrees as well as paths to transfer to competitive universities as a Junior. Students can enroll full-time or part-time, in-person or in the college’s award-winning online program. For more information, visit 


The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. We know it takes visionary college leaders to achieve this higher standard and we make it our mission to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and research-backed tools to inspire change, shift practice, and advance the capacity of colleges to deliver excellent and equitable student outcomes. For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.


JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at