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College association hires president

December 28, 2017
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Michael McDonald
Michael McDonald. Courtesy Kalamazoo College

A leader at a college in the region has been named the next president of an association of liberal arts schools.

The Great Lakes Colleges Association, or GLCA, hired Michael McDonald as the organization’s eighth president, effective July 2018.

McDonald sees this position as a chance to contribute to the vitality of liberal arts colleges on a broader scale.

“I am humbled and thrilled to serve as president of the GLCA,” McDonald said. “I am excited about collaboratively advancing our commitments to the centrality of the liberal arts in today’s world and promoting its role in preparing our students to be leaders, entrepreneurs and effective global citizens.”

McDonald brings 25 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator at liberal arts colleges.

For the past 10 years, he has served as provost of Kalamazoo College. During this time, he has hired about one-third of its faculty and increased the proportion of women and faculty of color in tenure-line positions. He helped secure more than $3.25 million in grants from major foundations.

The selection of McDonald was the result of a national search beginning in the spring of 2017, shortly after the current president, Richard Detweiler, announced he would retire.

“Throughout the selection process, our committee worked to identify a candidate who conveyed an understanding of the GLCA and a desire to build on what it has created,” said James Mullen Jr., chair of the organization’s board of directors and president of Allegheny College.

“We looked for a person who clearly understood the mission and values of the GLCA and who exhibited a deep commitment to liberal arts education and what it stands for. Dr. McDonald emerged as this candidate, and we are delighted to welcome him as our next president.”

McDonald places a strong emphasis on international and inter-cultural learning as a component of liberal arts education.  He has been an active participant in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, or GLAA, a program providing opportunities for collaboration and development to faculty and staff of GLCA’s 13 member colleges, in addition to 16 independent higher education institutions around the world.

McDonald has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Duke University and a B.S. in mathematics from Davidson College in North Carolina.

He was an American Council on Education Fellow in 2001-2002.

Great Lakes Colleges Association

Founded in 1962, the GLCA is a nonprofit governed by 13 Midwest liberal arts colleges: Albion, Allegheny, Antioch, DePauw, Denison, Earlham, Hope, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash, and Wooster. 

Its purpose is to strengthen and extend education in the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences.

The GLCA often works conjointly with similar associations of liberal arts colleges to enhance the strength and vitality of member institutions.

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