Top honors in Utah’s business world are reserved for a select few, and Salt Lake Community College’s President, Cynthia Bioteau recently joined the distinguished ranks. Bioteau received the Athena Award, given by Salt Lake’s Chamber of Commerce to females in their community who “demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or professions.”
“I believe that education is the foundation and cornerstone of a democracy, of innovation, of entrepreneurship,” Bioteau said moments before she accepted the honors. “The Athena Award is a wonderful award, but it’s more an award for our college because it says to me that SLCC has finally been recognized for the important role that we play in community literacy, in business vitality and workforce development.”
Salt Lake Chamber’s President, Lane Beattie had warm praise for President Bioteau at the event, “I want you to know that she goes the extra mile. I think that has a lot to do with her professionalism and who she is. She’s just really good.”
Beattie also noted the prominent roles that President Bioteau and President Ann Millner of Weber State University play as women leading organizations of great importance in the state of Utah.
Speaking of that role Bioteau recognized the mantle of her position in relation to the representation of women in a largely patriarchal society.
“I feel like we have to go above and beyond because if we mess up we mess up for all womankind.” She was quick though to step above the female cast. “In my day to day work I don’t look at it like I’m a woman. I look at it like I am President and CEO of this college. I ask what I need to do to connect this college to the business community, to the community of literacy, to make our city and state a better place to live.”
That she continues to do.
During President Bioteau’s five-year tenure credited, concurrent, and non-credit enrollment at the college has been maintained or increased in every category measured.
Ray Emett, SLCC’s Director of Institutional Research, pointed out that he believed a better measurement of Bioteau’s successful tenure was the steady but controlled growth of the student population. He explained that in the current economy demand to attend outweighs the capability of college resources and allowing unchecked growth could have damaged the “consistency of offerings” at the college. Instead Bioteau has ensured enrollment hasn’t outstripped our campus resources.
One source of pride for the President was SLCC’s diverse population. “We’re the most diverse institution of higher education in the state of Utah. Utah is changing, as are all the other states. We are no longer a homogenous community and quite honestly we’re the better for the diversity, and the differences of not only life experience, but race and ethnicity. It’s a good place to be.” SLCC indeed has a “minority” population of 16.4%, the highest in the state. It also boasts students in a widely diverse age range and nearly 2% of students at the college are Veterans of the Armed Services.
President Bioteau is committed to spending her professional career serving community colleges. “I believe that community colleges are the greatest grassroots higher education that this country has. It doesn’t get much better than that…I don’t care where our student came from, I just care where they want to go. Let them know that I care about that and I work towards that every single day.”
The award was given to President Bioteau at the Salt Lake Chamber’s Women and Business 2010 Conference, emceed by KUTV news anchors Mark Koelbel and Shauna Lake. President Bioteau was warmly congratulated by Utah Senator Karen Mayne at the luncheon. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon was also in attendance.