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Delta College President Goodnow announces retirement

January 14, 2021

Excellence Winners – Renee Hoppe, Kim Klein, Lisa Lawrason and Andrea Ursuy

After nearly 16 years of serving as president of Delta College, Dr. Jean Goodnow announced she will retire in August 2021.

Goodnow became the fourth, and first woman, president of Delta in 2005. She has led the college through tremendous growth, change and success, all while leading with the belief that students come first and foremost.

Goodnow made the announcement at a regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting on January 12. She said the announcement was made to ensure plenty of time for the Board to find Delta’s next president through an inclusive process that will include faculty, staff, students and the community.

“It has been a treasured honor to serve as your president,” Goodnow said. “I love Delta College today, and will always cherish the wonderful people I have been blessed to work with during the time I’ve served as president. I am deeply proud of how our faculty and staff care about and serve our students. Delta is truly one of the best colleges in the nation.”

“There’s much work to do during the next eight months to position Delta for the future. You’ll find me doing the job I love: leading Delta and helping students achieve their dreams. It’s vital to continue our efforts to make everyone feel they belong at Delta.”

“It is bittersweet to see Dr. Goodnow announcing her retirement from Delta College,” said Michael Nash, chair of the Delta College Board of Trustees. “She’s been a remarkable leader for the college and the legacy of her many accomplishments will benefit our community for years to come.”

Since Goodnow became president of Delta, she has positioned the college as a national leader in sustainability. Under her leadership, the college has also received numerous awards and recognitions for its attention to student success, technology and veteran services. Recently, to increase access for students and meet the needs of area employers, state-of-the-art learning centers have been constructed in Downtown Saginaw and Downtown Midland.

At the national level, Goodnow is a Board Member of the League for Innovation in the Community College, previously serving as Board Chair. She is a member of the STEM Higher Education Council, and has served on the Board of the American Association of Community Colleges.

In Michigan, Goodnow is a member of the Michigan Community College Association, serving as past Treasurer. Regionally, she serves on the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Board of Directors, Field Neurosciences Institute Board of Directors, Great Lakes Bay Regional Trails Committee, and is an honorary member of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. Past commitments include the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Bay Future Board of Directors, Saginaw Future Inc. Board of Directors, and the MidMichigan Health Corporate Board of Directors.

Goodnow has received multiple awards and recognition:

  • Shirley Gordon Phi Theta Kappa National Award
  • Community College Alliance Leadership Award
  • The Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the Delta College Black Faculty and Staff Association
  • Lifetime Achievement in Higher Education and Community Outreach, from the Saginaw County Branch of the NAACP in 2013
  • Governance Award from Delta College’s American Association of University Professors
  • Athena Award recipient, presented in 2018 by the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

“Dr. Goodnow’s departure leaves big shoes to fill,” Nash said. “We will be launching a national search immediately. It will be a transparent process allowing for input from faculty, staff and the community. While we have time to be thorough and thoughtful, August will come quickly, so we will also need to be expeditious in our approach.”

Goodnow is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where she earned a doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She has also completed post-graduate study at Harvard University.

A native of Iowa, Goodnow is a first-generation college graduate and she was raised by her grandparents on a small farm. Her career spans 49 years in higher education, with 25 years serving as a community college president.

Upon her retirement, Goodnow will work on behalf of community colleges at the national level and pursue other personal interests.