Mark O’Connell, president of Kellogg Community College, this evening announced his retirement from the College after 29 years of service at the institution.
O’Connell informed the KCC Board of Trustees during its regular monthly meeting that he will retire on Dec. 31, 2019, after the conclusion of the Fall 2019 semester. He thanked the Board for its unwavering support on numerous critical issues over the past four years as he was interim president and then president of the College.
“Over the past 29 years, the College has provided me with a wonderful career and an amazing journey of learning and professional development through 10 different administrative positions,” O’Connell told the Board. “Being entrusted with the top leadership position of this great institution over the past four years has been especially stimulating, rewarding and the most humbling.”
“The opportunity for me to work with a team of dedicated administrative faculty leadership, staff and employees who are committed to helping students succeed academically and in life has been a fitting and memorable capstone to my career,” O’Connell said.
After accepting O’Connell’s notice of retirement, Board Chairman Steve Claywell said O’Connell has been a strong leader and collaborator who will be deeply missed.
“We are very appreciative of everything Mark has done on behalf of the College and the Board,” Claywell said. “He has provided us a firm foundation and footing to move the College forward. We have highly valued the partnership the Board has had with the president in strengthening trust and integrity not only at KCC, but in our community.”
During the Board meeting, several trustees spoke of their appreciation for O’Connell and the roles he has played at the College over the years. Trustees and employees in attendance at the meeting recognized O’Connell with a standing ovation.
O’Connell said he is confident the College will continue key initiatives and transformational work that the administrative leadership team has begun in recent years, including improving processes for student learning, building institutional capacity for equity and inclusion, expanding opportunities for dual enrolled and early college students, shortening pathways to degree and credential attainment and developing stronger career and technical education pathways.
Over the course of his 29-year career at KCC, O’Connell oversaw numerous construction, expansion and renovation projects at all of the College’s campuses in Battle Creek, Albion, Coldwater and Hastings. Altogether, the projects represented more than $100 million worth of improvements and new construction to the College’s physical plant, infrastructure and educational facilities.
“I will always feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to serve the past three presidents, the Board, students, faculty, staff and employees of this great institution,” O’Connell said. “I have always strived to create an environment of open communication, trust, integrity and caring. My fondest wish as I leave KCC is that those I have served will see this as a token of my true legacy.”
Claywell said the Board will lay out a presidential search plan and timeline during its regular meeting in June, with the intention of naming a new president before Dec. 31.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we will continue the excellence of Kellogg Community College and we will take great consideration of our community, our students and our staff in our decisions moving forward,” Claywell said. “We will not compromise the standards that we have set and we will continue to be good stewards.”
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