MNSCU Board selects Maki to lead Iron Range colleges

William Maki has been named President of the Northeast Higher Education District. (PHOTO: Blandin Foundation)

William Maki has been named President of the Northeast Higher Education District. (PHOTO: Blandin Foundation)

Today, Chancellor Stephen Rosenstone recommended Bemidji State University CFO William Maki to lead the five independent Iron Range-region colleges of the Northeast Higher Education District. The MNSCU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Maki as President of NHED at its afternoon meeting.

The Northeast Higher Education District consists of Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Mesabi Range College in Virginia and Eveleth, Rainy River Community College in International Falls and Vermilion Community College in Ely. Each college is independently accredited, but shares administrative leadership and services through NHED.

Significant enrollment declines have plagued the five colleges for three years. One reason for the decline is an improving economy that has pulled many students into the workforce. Another is the continuing decline in enrollment at area high schools, still bleeding enrollment as they have for three decades.

Since 2000, Minnesota leaders have significantly reduced the allocation for higher education, relying increasingly on tuition dollars to pay for the cost of educating the next generation of workers, leaders and tradespeople. This makes enrollment an even bigger factor in college budgets, and in Northeastern Minnesota the result has been a brutal series of budget cuts.

Maki will inherit this dilemma, but was selected largely because of his experience solving similar budget problems at BSU. Having seen Maki’s candidate presentation at HCC a few weeks ago, he did a remarkable job explaining how tough times do not need to be bad times for the health and future of colleges or a region. That’s an important message, one that applies not just to colleges but the whole of the Iron Range. I look forward to working with our new president.

(Disclosure: I am a faculty member at Hibbing Community College. This blog is unrelated to my work at the college, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that I won’t spout anything negative about my employer here. You’ll just have to believe me that I honestly, truly am happy with this development and have confidence that Maki can do a good job. For real).


  1. I’ve been involved with the BSU Alumni Association and Foundation for several years and have seen Bill in action – NHED is getting the right guy for the job.

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