Marilyn Schlack is resigning as president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Marilyn Schlack, president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, is resigning from the job she's held since 1982. (Courtesy Kalamazoo Valley Community College)

Kalamazoo Valley Community College President Marilyn Schlack submitted her resignation to the board this morning.

She has served as president since 1982, but been a part of the college since 1974. Taking the reigns at the college, she became the first woman to serve as a president of a Michigan community college. During her tenure, enrollment at the college grew to more than 13,000 students, and she lead a $20 million capital campaign to build KVCC's museum, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, as part of Arcadia Commons in downtown Kalamazoo.

In her resignation letter, she said it was time for her to seek new opportunities. She did not provide a departure date, and instead has agreed to help in the search to find a new president.

"I will always remember my personal and professional experiences at Kalamazoo Valley Community College with great respect and high regard for the Board of Trustees, the KVCC Foundation Board, the faculty, the staff, the cabinet (to which I owe so much), but especially the students who make it all real," Schlack said in her resignation letter. "I think I have a well-formed perspective on KVCC’s past successes, present-day workings, and future potential. At KVCC innovation and the pursuit of excellence are both an expectation and a tradition. Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity to be part of this journey."

Schlack joined the staff at the college as an associate dean in 1974, after serving as a public school teacher in Detroit and Saginaw, and for a while at Western Michigan University. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, and a master's in English and educational administration. After leaving Western Michigan, she earned a doctorate in higher education and administration and then became assistant dean of instruction at Kalamazoo Valley.

In addition to the fundraising for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Schlack spearheaded to the public-private economic development project that is now Arcadia Commons. The effort included the renovation of historic buildings the creation of the college's Arcadia Commons Campus and the renovation of the S. Dewing building for KVCC's Center for New Media, as well as the redevelopment of other properties in the central-city area.

She also committed the college to becoming more efficient through conservation measures including developing LEED certified buildings, and establishing an academic program in the use of alternative energy shources.

Among other honors, Schlack has received the Athena Award, and the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award.

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