Coleman to retire as Bay president

ESCANABA — Bay College President Laura Coleman announced her intent to retire during the College’s Board of Trustees meeting September 21. Coleman will retire effective June 30, 2023, as the fifth and longest-serving president in Bay College’s 60-year history.

“The Bay College team has worked diligently over the past 16 years to improve student success and stabilize our enrollment. Working with the teams at Bay College to help our students gain new skills and knowledge which will change their lives, has been inspiring and leaves me satisfied with my professional career. There is much left to accomplish. The Bay College team will stay on that path over the next nine months and going forward under new leadership,” said Coleman.

The board is in the process of selecting a firm to guide a national search for Coleman’s successor, which will include input from employees at the college and individuals in the community. Information about the process and timeline will be available on the college’s website.

Coleman was hired in July 2006, after leading Lake Michigan College’s Bertrand Crossing Campus as executive dean. She received her Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, Lake Forest, Ill., and her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from the University of Illinois.

“Bay College, Delta County, and surrounding areas are most fortunate to have Dr. Laura Coleman as our president at Bay College for over 16 years. Her record has been most superlative. She has guided the college through many difficult periods, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Bay College was the only Michigan community college of higher education institutions to have an increase in students during the first year shut down,” said Trustee Tom Butch.

Butch said of key importance was her guidance of students to employment opportunities.

“She, while interacting with faculty, staff, administrators and Board members, has always stressed the importance of ‘student success,’ first and foremost,” he said. “She has tirelessly pursued all the components of student success, from lobbying legislators for much needed funds to personal guidance of students needing additional assistance to reach their goals.”

Coleman’s work to lead the college despite changes in higher education on the whole.

“Dr. Coleman has successfully led the institution through the ever-changing landscape of community college higher education these past 16 years. Her commitment to the college, the students, and communities it serves has been unwavering. Laura’s passion for student success is infectious and will be carried on for years to come. This passion is now engrained into the fabric of our fine institution,” said Trustee Eric Lundin.


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