Four Internal Administrators Vie for SMC Presidency

Three veteran educators and administrators have tossed their collective hats into the ring to become the next President of Southwestern Michigan College upon the retirement of current President Dr. David Mathews at the end of the year, and the public is being invited to provide their input to the college’s Board of Trustees ahead of face-to-face interviews and other due diligence.

The Dowagiac institution has announced that all four internal candidates have formally applied to succeed Dr. Mathews to become its eighth president.

On August 6th, Mathews, who is SMC’s longest-serving president at 18 years running, announced his retirement at the end of 2019 after 22 years with the college. During its August 19th meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to begin with an internal search process. The window for interested candidates to apply was open for several weeks and closed this week on Tuesday, September 10th.

As the Board of Trustees readies next steps, they are looking for feedback from the community-at-large regarding the style of leader that Southwest Michigan would like to see at the top of the organization going forward, and are inviting the public to their next meeting on Monday on the Dowagiac campus.

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In alphabetical order, the four candidates include:

Dr. David Fleming, who has served as SMC’s Vice President of Instruction since 2011. Previously, he held various positions at Davenport University, including Executive Director of Faculty Development and Assessment, Vice President for Academic Services and Executive Vice President for Academics and Provost. Fleming earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from West Virginia University and his Doctor of Philosophy from Indiana University.

Dr. Lucian Leone, who currently serves as SMC’s Director of Admissions. He joined the college in 2018 after working as the Director of Operations at the Institute for Professional Excellence at Davenport University. Previously, he held several director-level positions at Lansing Community College and served as the Associate Dean for the College of Business at Ferris State University.  Leone earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts and a Master of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University and his Doctor of Philosophy from Michigan State University.

Dr. Joseph Odenwald, who has served as SMC’s Vice President of Student Services since 2017, coming to Dowagiac after working as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services at Louisiana State University College of Engineering. Previously, he held several positions at Mississippi College, including Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Life while teaching graduate courses as a member of the Adjunct Faculty. Odenwald earned his Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana College, a Master of Science from Mississippi College and his Doctor of Education from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Stacy Young, who has served as SMC’s Dean of the School of Business and Advanced Technology since 2013, having held several positions at the college including Dean of the Niles Campus. Prior to joining SMC in 2005, she was Adjunct Faculty at Ferris State University and Davenport University, and she worked in management and auditing at several companies. Young earned her Bachelor of Science from Manchester University, a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University and her Doctor of Philosophy from Andrews University.

The board welcomes community input on what characteristics and qualities are desired in SMC’s next president. Those with comments are invited to the next regular board meeting, scheduled at 7 pm next Monday, September 16th in the David C. Briegel Building on the Dowagiac campus. The board likely will also discuss next steps in the process, including timing of the in-person interviews.