Pueblo Community College President Patricia Erjavec announced Monday that she will retire in May 2024, ending her 14-year tenure and 22-year career with the Colorado Community College System.
PCC enrolls more than 9,000 students annually across its campuses in Pueblo, Fremont and PCC Southwest, and is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. The campuses are located in Pueblo, Bayfield, Durango and Mancos.
“It has been my honor to serve as PCC’s 13th president and the first woman in the role,” Erjavec said. “As a proud Puebloan, I have been fortunate to lead PCC through a chapter of incredible growth and collective achievement. I am indebted to my colleagues across the college and know we will remain the region’s premier partner for education and workforce development for years to come.”
Joe Garcia, chancellor of CCCS, praised Erjavec’s strong leadership and commitment to public and private partnership. “Dr. Erjavec has poured her heart into PCC, and the energy, creativity, and expertise she brought to the entire organization will likely never be matched,” he said. “Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Erjavec has opened beautiful new learning facilities and pioneered many of our system’s most innovative work-based learning models. On behalf of CCCS and our state board, I commend her extraordinary service to Pueblo and Colorado and wish her the best of luck in retirement.”
Erjavec has served as PCC’s president since June 2010, leading the school as it expanded degree programs and academic offerings.
During her time as PCC president, the college adopted 30 new associate degree and seven new bachelor degrees in computer science, dental hygiene and more
Erjavec ensured degree programs in health fields are aligned with regional workforce need and expanded PCC’s concurrent enrollment program, bringing college-level instruction to rural high school students in Fremont, Florence, and Custer counties and Southwest Colorado. It partners with Mancos High School’s pathways program.
According to a news release, the college has steadily improved its retention and graduation rates over the past decade.
PCC was also among the first colleges in the state to adopt supplemental academic instruction, ensuring students of all backgrounds could successfully pass entry-level coursework and make progress toward their credentials.
“Dr. Erjavec also championed PCC’s Return to Earn program, which has garnered national recognition for re-engaging students who dropped out,” the news release continued.
A trailblazer in industry partnerships, Erjavec helped attract funding to roll out a fleet of eight mobile learning labs that deliver on-site workforce training for local businesses.
She also spearheaded the college’s new Teaching and Learning Center, a state-of-the art health care training facility that provides hand-on instruction in partnership with local hospitals.
Erjavec served two consecutive terms on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education and chaired it for two years and was the was interim president of CCCS for nine months before joining PCC.
Before becoming the president at PCC, Erjavec spent 11 years with El Pueblo, an adolescent treatment community, where she was president and CEO for nine years. There, she oversaw the construction and renovation of 11 therapeutic cottages and several other support services, increasing capacity by 50 percent.
In 2019, Erjavec was named a “Woman of Influence” by the Colorado Springs Business Journal. She was also inducted into the Pueblo Hall of Fame in 2010 and the South High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2008.
She has participated in leadership programs with the Center for Creative Leadership, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the El Pomar Foundation, and the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.
Erjavec completed her Ph.D. in education leadership at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University, where she graduated with Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society honors and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University Pueblo).
CCCS will announce details about the search for PCC’s next president, including how the community can participate, in the coming months.