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NACAS Founder and First President, Dr. Wright L. Lassiter, Jr., Passes Away

(Charlottesville, VA – Friday, July 5, 2019) — One of the association’s founders and the first NACAS president, Dr. Wright L. Lassiter, Jr., passed away on Monday, July 1, at his home in Dallas. He was 85. A minister, author, and educator, Lassiter left a huge impact on his own community and within the greater higher education landscape.

“Dr. Lassiter was an extraordinary teacher and mentor,” said NACAS CEO Kelsey Harmon Finn. “He was an inspiration to many in the auxiliary services industry and within NACAS. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this time.”

Dr. Lassiter was appointed chancellor of Dallas County Community College in 2007 after serving as president of El Centro College for 20 years. He was the district’s first African-American chancellor. A true example of leadership, Dr. Lassiter was committed to making higher education accessible to all.

He served as a member on the Dallas Black Chamber’s Education Committee, the Texas Council for the Humanities, and the United States Commission of Minority Business Development. In 2002, he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Dr. Lassiter was a visionary for the importance of auxiliary services and role model for all of us who have worked in higher education,” said David Lord, NACAS Past President.  “He got NACAS started and was always very kind and warm when I saw him during our conferences.”

At the 2013 NACAS Annual Conference in Anaheim, Dr. Lassiter was honored with a new NACAS award in his name and a proclamation declaring October 27, 2013 to be officially recognized as Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Day. The Dr. Wright L. Lassiter, Jr. Legacy Award honors an auxiliary service professional or business partner who demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities and a commitment to volunteerism with $500 towards a future C3X registration.

“Dr. Lassiter was truly one of the great leaders ever to be associated with NACAS,” said Bill Redwine, NACAS Past President. “I had the opportunity to meet him and visit with him in Anaheim. A true gentleman and dedicated educator, our profession is just a little bit better because of his influence.”

Lassiter retired in 2014, but continued to serve as a graduate school faculty member at Dallas Baptist University. An ordained minister, he taught at Concord Baptist Church and was an interim pastor at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, both in Dallas.

He is survived by his wife, Demetria Lassiter, two adult children, and two grandchildren. His first wife, Bessie Lassiter, died in 2014.