Don Laackman became Champlain College’s eighth president in July 2014, bringing a commitment to guide Champlain to achieving its goal of being the finest small, professionally and globally focused college in the United States. His leadership experience at Accenture, Civic Consulting Alliance and the City Colleges of Chicago position him to strengthen Champlain College’s innovative educational model. Champlain blends career-focused education with interdisciplinary liberal study to give students the skills to adapt and succeed in a rapidly evolving world.
Don came to Champlain College from Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he served as president from 2011 through 2014. Don played a key role in the college’s “Reinvention” initiative, creating strategies and programs for diverse student populations while eliminating barriers to employment and addressing inequality in higher education. In 2012, Don launched the Business, Professional Services and Entrepreneurship “College to Careers” offering, a mayoral initiative providing students access to real-world experience through teacher-practitioners and internships, and getting more students and graduates into meaningful jobs.
Prior to his presidency at Harold Washington, Don managed workforce and education programs for Civic Consulting Alliance, a non-profit partnership dedicated to reshaping how Chicago operates through building pro-bono teams of business experts, government leaders and staff that develop strategies for making Chicago more livable, affordable and globally competitive.
From 1984 to 2007, Don worked at Accenture, one of the world’s leading consulting, technology and outsourcing firms. Over his twenty-three-year career with the company as a partner and managing director, he led strategy, sales, planning, change management and information technology initiatives for clients of the financial services and insurance industry.
Don was an appointed member of the Mayor of Chicago’s Small Business Advisory Committee in March 2013. He served from 2010 to 2014 as the Chairman of the Board of Genesys Works Chicago, a multicity non-profit focused on training and placing high school students in information technology jobs. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Visiting Committee for the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
Don received his B.A. degree in Economics, Politics, Rhetoric and Law from the University of Chicago in 1984. He obtained his master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 2009.
Don is married to Allyson Laackman, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. They have two children, Donald and Emily.