MnSCU names Northland, NHED leaders

Bona (Courtesy of MnSCU)

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system trustees named two college presidents today.

Dennis Bona will be president of Northland Community and Technical College, and Bill Maki will president of the Northeast Higher Education District consortium of colleges. Both start July 1.

At a monthly meeting of trustees today, Chancellor Steven Rosenstone called Bona a man of “great integrity and capacity.”

Bona comes from Kellogg Community College in Michigan, where he has served as president since 2010. Prior to that, he served there in other positions, including vice president for instruction, dean of career and occupational education and director of the college’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center.

He got his associate and bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University, and his master’s and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.

Bona comes to Northland after having a rough patch at Kellogg Community College, according to a Battle Creek Enquirer article last month:

“Bona had a tumultuous 2014 at KCC, going on leave during an investigation of allegations of inappropriate interactions with college personnel. He returned to work after the 20-day investigation revealed no substantiation of the allegations against him. In April, the Kellogg Faculty Association passed a no-confidence resolution against Bona.”

Rosenstone told the audience at today’s monthly meeting that Bona raised the topic of the investigation himself in the initial interview with MnSCU’s search advisory committee, and the chancellor said he discussed the case “at length” with Bona in his initial conversation with him.

Rosenstone said conversations with two Kellogg trustees and the investigator of the case made it clear that “there is no truth to the allegation. … The allegation was completely fabricated.”

Reading what appeared to be a comment from a Northland employee, Rosenstone said Bona’s discussion of the case with faculty and staff there left everyone “satisfied with his answers.”

“They have made it loud and clear that we have found their next president,” Rosenstone said.

Trustee Duane Benson said that after Kellogg reinstated Bona, it extended his contract. Benson said he strongly supported Bona’s appointment:

“They’re allegations, and they’ve never been proven. … If we make our decision based on allegations, I think we’re in trouble.”

Bona is replacing Anne Temte, who is retiring.

Maki will head up the Northeast Higher Education District, which is composed of Hibbing

Maki (Courtesy of MnSCU)

Community College, Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range College, Rainy River Community College and Vermilion Community College.

“Bill Maki reflects the qualities that the colleges were seeking,” Rosenstone said.

Since 2004, Maki has been vice president of finance and administration for both Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Before that, he was the district’s chief financial and facilities officer, and was dean of student and administrative services at Itasca Community College.

He has an associate degree from Vermilion Community College, and a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Maki will replace Sue Collins, who is also retiring.