Dorothy Lord, former president of what today is College of Coastal Georgia, died Sunday at Fernandina Beach, FL, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 78.

Lord was the first woman to serve as president of the college, taking the reins in 1991 of what then was Brunswick Community College, a two-year college drawing its budget from the University System of Georgia and the state’s technical college system.

In June 2008, 17 years later, she retired after having helped set the stage for the junior college to blossom into a full four-year college.

Ron Maulden, former vice president and general manager of The Brunswick News, chaired the college foundation during the latter part of her presidency and worked with her as a member and former director of the local chamber of commerce.

“She was very good for the community because she kept us going forward,” he said. “She was very forward thinking and always wanted the college to be a four-year school.”

The Suwannee County, Florida, native, who earned her bachelor and master’s degrees and a doctorate in administration of higher education from Florida State University, looked at the college as way to improve the lives of students and the community in which they lived.

Among the many programs she created or assisted in creating was the Minority Outreach Program, a summer program open to rising sixth- and seventh-graders that is supported by the Fourteen Black Men of Glynn. The program teaches and sharpens the skills of of students in reading, math, writing and other areas of study.

Lord also crusaded for a college satellite in Camden County. The Camden Center campus she worked for is in Kingsland.

“Her main concern was the faculty, whether the students were getting what they needed, and the community,” Maulden said. “She always wanted us to be more than we were. She was invested in the community.”

Maulden considered her a friend.

“She was a very gentle, very professional person,” he said.

Lord’s career in education began long before her arrival in Brunswick. She was a professor at Florida Southeastern State College, known then as Edison Community College, before her promotion to dean and later to vice president of academic affairs. Before then, she taught at Georgia Southeastern University in Americus.

Woody Woodside, who worked closely with Lord when he headed up the chamber of commerce, called her a friend who was a workaholic. If it was something to do with education, count her in.

That included the push for the development of the Golden Isles Career Academy.

“She was extremely dedicated to education and spent most of her time with that,” Woodside said, noting her never knew her to take vacations. “She was very dedicated to the college and to growing its enrollment.”

It was another goal she succeeded at achieving. Student enrollment more than doubled during Lord’s tenure, increasing from 1,500 during her early years to a high of 3,275.

“She was a good friend to the community,” Woodside said. “I enjoyed working with her. The chamber enjoyed working with her.”

Survivors include her husband, Leonard; brother, Sidney Lord of Live Oak, Florida; and a sister, Barbara Lord of Cape Code, Massachusetts.

The funeral will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at the graveside, Philadelphia Baptist Church in McAlpin, Florida.

Daniels Funeral Home in Live Oak, Florida, is in charge of arrangements.

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