August 27, 2020
August 27, 2020 – Northland President Dr. Dennis Bona announced recently that he will retire at the end of the year concluding over 41-years in higher education.
“I wish to extend my sincere appreciation for all of the wonderful support that I enjoyed from faculty, staff, students, and especially the people in the communities we serve,” shares Bona, “This has been a tremendously successful experience and I couldn’t have anticipated that it would have gone this well. The people in this area are an absolute joy to live and work with, everyone should be proud to live here!”
Appointed in 2015, Bona has led Northland’s East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls campuses during times of unprecedented change and challenge in higher education, culminating with the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic. From the onset of his presidency, he redefined the institution’s mission and vision and focused on expanding community and workforce partnerships.
Bona spearheaded an initiative to engage students in community service and activism creating Northland’s Service Learning program which requires students to complete a service project within the community prior to graduation. In addition, he also oversaw the reconstruction of Northland’s Manufacturing program, the establishment of student housing on the Thief River Falls Campus, and many physical improvements including a new fitness center on the East Grand Forks Campus. “Most importantly,” Bona exclaims, “Northland was reaccredited by the Higher-Learning Commission for a 10-year term.”
Bona is currently a member of the Grand Forks Area Chamber of Commerce – Business, Government, Education Advisory Committee, Grand Forks Regional Economic Development, Thief Rivers Falls Rotary, Valley Prosperity Partnership, Northwest Minnesota Foundation Impact 20/20 Education Task Force, Thief River Falls Area Community Fund, and is a Trustee on the Binda Foundation Board.
Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra released a statement upon the announcement of Bona’s retirement. “President Dennis Bona has been a strong leader for the college and the system over the last six years. The college has flourished under his leadership and has had a steadfast focus on student access and success. I can recall many conversations where President Bona could sum up a discussion with one simple question – what is best for our students. During his tenure, a robust portfolio of academic programming in high demand fields such as health care and cybersecurity have been developed and expanded. The college has developed the capacity and programmatic excellence to garner federally sponsored grants and the attention of not only the state but nationally. Under his leadership, the college has built strong partnerships with businesses and secured its position as an important contributor for enhancing the talent pool of the region.”
A national search for Bona’s replacement will begin immediately with the goal of having a new leader chosen early in the spring of 2021 for a July 1st start date. An interim president will be named later this fall to serve a term of six months following Bona’s departure on December 31. Specific details on the search are expected to be announced within the coming weeks.