Laurie Lachance, the president of Thomas College in Waterville, speaks May 13, 2023, during commencement ceremonies at the college’s Harold Alfond Athletic Center. Lachance announced Wednesday she plans to retire by June 2025. Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — Thomas College President Laurie Lachance announced Wednesday she plans to retire by June 2025 after having been at the helm of the Waterville school since 2012.

Lachance led the college through a period of significant growth and innovation, according to an announcement the college released to the news media.

“It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve as Thomas College’s president,” Lachance said in the announcement. “With the vision and full support of the Board, and the hard work and can-do spirit of our entire college community, Thomas has experienced over a decade of bold transformation.”

She added: “We’ve consistently led the industry in ‘breaking the mold’ by creating strong early college programming, attacking affordability head-on by offering all bachelors degrees in a three-year format and a masters in one year, and proudly serving as an engine of upward social and economic mobility. We have had great growth without ever abandoning our humble roots and kind culture.”

A news story published Sept. 23, 2012.

U.S. News & World Report cites Thomas as a top college in Maine for social mobility. The college’s focus and its one-of-a-kind guaranteed job program enables students to advance more quickly in the arts and sciences, business and education, according to the college. Students can earn an undergraduate degree in three years, and then choose from a variety of in-person or online graduate degree programs that can be completed in one or two years.

As president, Lachance kept pace with the rapidly evolving landscape of education as the college expanded and modernized its academic offerings, according to the college. They included the launch of new undergraduate and graduate programs, accelerated three-year undergraduate degrees, 100% online degree programs and leading edge professional and career development programming.


Lachance also spearheaded campaigns that raised nearly $50 million to fund construction of several new facilities, including the Sukeforth Family Sports Center, which opened in 2022.

“President Lachance has been a visionary leader for Thomas College,” Conrad Ayotte, chairman of the the college’s board of trustees, said. “Under her leadership, the college has experienced tremendous growth and progress. In the face of great odds, Thomas College actually saw overall enrollment growth of 3.3 percent in the fall of 2023 and broke all records for average GPA (grade point average) of the incoming class as well as retention rates. We are grateful for her dedication and service to the mission of Thomas College and the students we serve.”

The board of trustees has established a search committee to find Lachance’s successor, according to officials, and plans to name the college’s next president by June 2025.

Lachance said Thomas at 180 West River Road is “such a special place and we make such a difference in the lives of our students.”

“I gave my notice very early so that the college would have ample time to find the absolute best person for this role,” she said. “I am committed to work closely with the board and the new president to ensure a smooth transition.”

Lachance was the first female and alumna in Thomas’ 130-year history to become its president. Before becoming president, she served as president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation, and prior to that, she served three governors as the Maine state economist.

Before working in state government, Lachance was the corporate economist for Central Maine Power Co.

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