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L&C Board appoints BJC architect Donna Ware to finish retired trustee’s term

Donna Ware

Lewis and Clark Community College welcomed new Trustee Donna Ware, a 20-year resident of Alton, to the Board of Trustees during its regular board meeting on Mar. 14, 2023.

Ware, who currently works as an Executive Director of Planning and Design with BJC HealthCare, with more than 30 years in architecture, will serve out the remainder of retired Trustee Charles Hanfelder’s term, to end in April 2025.

“I have always had a passion for education in all its forms and how it can truly transform people’s lives personally and professionally, whether through a formal college education, continuing education or trade school,” Ware said. “The mission and vision of Lewis and Clark to empower people and provide relevant and high-quality learning aligns with my own values as I mentor young people in my industry as well as ensure learning opportunities for design professionals. I hope that through my service on the Board, I will be able to harness my passion and experience to further strengthen the impact Lewis and Clark has had on the lives of individuals, families and the community.”

Ware holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her work with BJC, she periodically teaches a graduate-level seminar for architecture students at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design on designing healthcare environments.

In addition to the L&C Board of Trustees, Ware is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has served on the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo Advisory Board since 2014, and has been on the Board of Directors for the ACE Mentor Program’s St. Louis Chapter since 2018. The program exposes high school students, minorities in particular, to architecture, construction (including trades) and engineering as potential careers.

She has been with BJC since 2008. In her current role, she is in charge of implementing robust processes for all aspects of campus and facility planning, medical planning and interior and exterior design. She selects and oversees the work of external architects and consultants in partnership with BJC leaders and medical professionals to plan and design a range of projects from new freestanding medical facilities to renovated patient care and support spaces.

She said her professional experience has only reinforced her passion for education, as well as the value of community college and trade schools in launching careers, or as stepping stones to continued higher education.

“I understand the important role of colleges and universities in the lives of current and potential students, faculty and staff, and members of the community,” she said in her letter of interest to the Board. “My interest in serving in higher education stems from my own experience in high school navigating the college process. Neither of my parents is college educated, and not having that experience to pass along to me, I was on my own to figure out what to do. I believed then that a four-year university education would be my only path to success. I had no knowledge or appreciation of the options that were truly available.”

Lifelong learning is at the core of her beliefs, and she practices that in her personal and professional life.

She also believes in investing in her community, here in the River Bend.

“We care deeply about this community, its residents and its young people, and the business community we love to support,” she said. “We’ve spent many hours getting to know our community and realizing how each of us can make a difference, large or small, volunteering as many parents do at our son’s school, sports, and camps, as well as through our church. I see the impact Lewis and Clark has in this community, from educating young people and adults, many of whom work at BJC, to outreach and services available to the young and old.”

With the college still in the planning stages for a $50 million major renovation of the historic Main Complex, Ware said she brings a deep understanding of facilities operations and design to her new role as trustee.

“I understand the complexity of evaluating the current needs of an organization and balancing those with long-term capital goals – keeping both firmly in mind with the flexibility to change course,” she said. “Sometimes our stakeholders have multiple and conflicting priorities, but my role requires building consensus to ensure overall project success.”

Chairperson Julie Johnson said the board is happy to have her.

“I am excited to have a board member with Donna’s qualifications in the field of architecture, her executive level experience and her obvious passion for education in our community, join us,” Johnson said. “I welcome her to our board.”

As Ware begins her term, she is committed to supporting the college and community to the best of her abilities.

“My service to the college and its communities will be understanding of the need for transparency in the community; the desire to recruit and retain the best faculty; the need for flexibility to face fiscal and enrollment challenges; the duty to ensure the curriculum and programs prepare students for success, regardless of their path; and our obligation as a community to provide a setting that’s respectful to and inclusive for all, that each person can feel a true sense of belonging, value, safety and appreciation, regardless of who they are,” she said.

To learn more about the college and its Board of Trustees, visit

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