Ivy Tech exec tapped as state’s next higher education commissioner

Chris Lowery

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education announced Thursday that it has selected Chris Lowery as the state’s next commissioner for higher education.

Lowery currently serves as senior vice president of workforce, careers and adult strategy at Ivy Tech Community College.

Lowery was unanimously voted to the position by the 14-person commission following a national search. Lowery succeeds Teresa Lubbers, who in November announced plans to step down at the conclusion of the 2022 legislative session.

The commission said Lubbers will continue in her role until the end of the month and Lowery will officially become the new commissioner in mid-April.

Lowery joined Ivy Tech in 2014 and prior to his role as senior vice president, he served as chancellor of the college’s Columbus and Southeast regions. He previously led public policy and engagement efforts for Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. and was an aide to former Gov. Robert Orr and then-Senator Dan Quayle.

“Alignment between education and workforce is critical to making Indiana a leader in attracting and developing talent,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a written statement. “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.”

During Lowery’s tenure at Ivy Tech, the college saw an 85% increase in completions between 2016 and 2021. He also led the creation and $15 million in fundraising for the Career Coaching and Employer Connections program.

“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.”

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