John O’Brien was appointed president of North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park today by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.
O’Brien, 47, is currently on leave from his position as academic vice president and chief academic officer at Century College to direct the “Students First” project, a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system initiative to improve student services.
“We work very hard to grow strong leaders within the system as we did with John O’Brien,” said Chancellor James H. McCormick. “I am pleased that he was able to rise to the top after a thorough process that sought out the best talent. He is well suited to this college.”
Ruth Grendahl, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the board’s Human Resources Committee, said, “John O’Brien already has demonstrated leadership and vision in the positions he has held in this system. This is a logical step for the board, and I believe the system will benefit greatly.”
O’Brien said, “It’s such an honor to be appointed president of North Hennepin Community College. It’s a gem in the system. The quality of the faculty and staff is first rate. And the campus is rich with many kinds of diversity.”
In 2008-2009, O’Brien served as acting president of Century College. Before becoming Century’s academic vice president, he was an associate vice chancellor and system director for instructional technology in the system office, and an instructor at Normandale Community College, Augustana College in South Dakota and the University of Minnesota.
He also has been an adjunct instructor at Augsburg College and the University of St. Thomas and has taught at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. O’Brien holds a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Augustana College, a master’s degree in Anglo-Irish literature from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in Ireland and a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota.
O’Brien will replace Ann Wynia, who is retiring. His appointment takes effect July 1.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system comprises 32 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The system serves about 260,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 164,000 students in non-credit courses.