By KATIE HETRICK
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN — Henry Ford College President Russell Kavalhuna will leave HFC at the end of June to become the chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.
VCCS has 23 colleges on 40 campuses across Virginia.
“I have deeply valued my time as the president of Henry Ford College,” Kavalhuna said. “This community and our students mean a lot to me, personally and professionally.
“It was a hard decision for me to leave the college. In the end, I could not turn down this opportunity to continue expanding the mission of access to life-changing education.
“I will remain fully engaged in the work we are doing at Henry Ford College until I leave at the end of June. I am committed to working with the board of trustees, the cabinet and other campus leaders, and our community to ensure a smooth transition.”
During his tenure at HFC, Kavalhuna led the acquisition of nearly $7 million in state funding for renovations to the Technology Building and implementation of the Integrated Energy Master Plan. He advocated for the college at the local, regional, and national levels, and participated on boards and commissions across the state.
He took a leading role in securing a $2.1 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to support the development of a new Middle College Trade School Program.
Kavalhuna led the team that developed the new HFC Strategic Plan, which focuses squarely on his passion for student success. He supported a balanced and strategic budget, and led the college to its first enrollment increase in 10 years before the pandemic. He led increases in graduation rates and student retention.
He worked to create an environment of teamwork, trust, respect and collaboration. He communicated regularly and openly with faculty, staff, students, board members, community members, and college partners, and was known for his transparency and open-door policy.
He mentored and supported new leaders and the work of many teams and initiatives at the college. He worked to remove barriers and support programs and services to make sure that all students could have access to a high-quality education.
HFC Board of Trustees Chair Roxanne McDonald expressed warm congratulations for Kavalhuna on this next step in his career.
“Russ has been a great president for our college, and I have truly enjoyed working with him,” she said. “He has been an exceptional leader and a terrific teammate and collaborator. He has set high standards in every area of his work, and he has constantly supported the college’s employees and students.
“As board chair, I have valued our close relationship of trust. We have developed a strong friendship, and I will really miss Russ. I wish him and his family tremendous happiness and success. I know he will do great things with this amazing opportunity.”
McDonald said she appreciated the positive relationship between Kavalhuna and Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Glenn Maleyko.
“Because of our unique status as a P-16 district, the relationship has many positive attributes for students and our community,” McDonald said. “Both Russ and Glenn understood that, and they worked well together, knowing what this partnership means to our community and the advantages it brings to our students.”
The board has not yet decided on its next steps. McDonald said the board is committed to being transparent and involving all stakeholder groups as it determines the path forward for the college presidency.
Further information about the leadership transition will be made public as soon as it is available.