The Illinois Community College Board has hired Leonard “Gary” Cruise to lead the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus. As director, Cruise will act as a liaison between the campus partners that manage and deliver programs and the ICCB.
The ESLHEC provides community college classes to residents of East St. Louis and surrounding communities. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville also offers a variety of programs on the campus.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to grow the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus and bring the community together to expand access to education for those living in East St. Louis. As a product of the East St. Louis school system, I know the value of education and what it can do to put people on a path to living a successful life,” said Cruise.
ESLHEC opened in January 1999, on the former campus of Metropolitan Community College and is operated by the ICCB through a partnership with Illinois community colleges and SIUE.
“We are pleased to have someone with Leonard’s experience and success in mentoring youth in the metro-east help lead such a critical resource for the surrounding community. The ICCB is excited to work with Leonard and our community college and university partners to provide critical access to education in East St. Louis,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.
Leonard is a product of the East St. Louis school system and graduated from Assumption High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and continued his education at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Leonard is a former Belleville School Board member and dean of Students at Vashon High School.