Dr. Elizabeth Borgen (left), Geraldine Plehn (right)
Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Borgen, President of Lakeland University - WI, for receiving our 2021 Paul Harris Leadership in Education Award.
The Paul Harris Leadership in Education Award was initiated in 2016 with the intention of recognizing outstanding leadership, commitment, and impact through extraordinary service in the field of education in Sheboygan County. 
This year’s recipient is no stranger to our club – She is a former Early Bird Rotarian and was nominated by Early Bird Rotary member, Tom Detienne. She was presented with the award at the Sheboygan Early Bird Rotary Club meeting on Thursday, June 10 by International Service Committee Director Geraldine Plehn (pictured right).
Dr. Borgen became the 18th President of Lakeland University effective January 1, 2021. She was developed internally by Lakeland and has been an employee of the University for over 15 years. Starting as an Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, she most recently was the Vice President of Advancement for the University.
Dr. Borgen earned her Undergraduate degree in Communications and Media Studies from St. Norbert College (’01), her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Lakeland (’11), and her Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater (’20).
Lakeland University promoted Executive Vice President Elizabeth Borgen to be the institution’s 18th president and she is the first female to lead the institution in its 158 year history.
In her 15 years at Lakeland, she has led dramatic growth in fund raising efforts and the implementation of the university’s award-winning Cooperative Education Program.
Dr. Borgen was named executive vice president in July of 2018, a role that has seen her lead teams that manage Lakeland’s enrollment, Cooperative Education program, financial aid, fundraising, and external relations/marketing efforts. She has played a significant role in building relationships with key community stakeholders and employers, and her team has successfully launched several boards of advocates that provide valuable input for LU’s academic programs.
She led Lakeland through the creation of its current strategic plan, which prepares to position the institution for declines in student populations by the middle of this decade that will challenge all institutions of higher learning.
She recently led a task force of key stakeholders to fully implement Lakeland’s co-op program, which for the last three falls has generated three of the largest incoming freshman classes in Lakeland’s history. Fundraising has grown dramatically under her leadership. Dr. Borgen moved into a fundraising role in 2007, and in 2015 was named Vice President of Advancement.
She led Lakeland’s recent $12 million campaign – one of the largest in the institution’s history – that funded a dramatic overhaul of the Younger Family Campus Center, the region’s first outdoor turf athletic field and funding to launch the co-op program. The $12 million campaign goal was accomplished ahead of schedule and netted an additional $3-plus million over its goal.
Under her leadership, Lakeland’s Movers and Shakers Gala, which was among the most popular and well-attended Sheboygan County fundraisers, grew and found new ways to benefit community organizations.
She is married to Jim, who is a captain with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s department, and they have three children, Stella, Sydney and Oliver.  They currently reside in the President’s house at Lakeland’s main campus.
Her accomplishments are no surprise to those who have known her for the past 10 years, her dedication to making a difference was evident even then, as she drove from Fond du Lac for our 7:00 am meetings.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Elizabeth Borgen as our newest Paul Harris recipient.