Posted: January 20, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees has named Ronald A. Swanson president of Northwest Technical College with campuses in Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Moorhead and Wadena.

Swanson is currently a special assistant for strategy development and instructional research with the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education in Atlanta, Ga., where he has worked since 1997. Prior to this he was president of Coosa Valley Technical Institute in Rome, Georgia. He has 25 years of community and technical college experience.

"Dr. Swanson is known as a leader who values team building," said Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. "He also has a fine reputation for strategic planning and developing educational programs that meet the changing needs of business and industry."

Swanson received his doctorate in vocational/technical and industrial education from Penn State University with a general studies minor in community college administration. He received his masters in education degree and his bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

Swanson began his teaching career in the Green Bay Public Schools in Green Bay Wis., in 1968. His first college administrative position was from 1980 to 1986 when he was chief campus officer for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Marinette, Wis.

Swanson served as president of Coosa Valley Technical Institute in Rome, Ga., for over two years, beginning in 1994. At Coosa Valley, Swanson implemented a Malcolm Baldrige continuous quality improvement program and developed a five-year strategic plan.

Swanson's background in instructional design and classroom technology lead to his present position in the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, a system of 33 technical institutions.

Swanson was selected by Chancellor Morris J. Anderson and recommended to the Board of Trustees from a list of four finalists. The finalists were chosen by a national screening committee composed of college and community representatives and chaired by Larry Shellito, president of Alexandria Technical College.

Northwest Technical serves approximately 6,371 students annually with a full-time fall enrollment of 3,961. It has been designed a ThinkPad Tech by IBM.

Swanson will replace former president Ray Cross, who resigned last year to take a state university presidency in New York. Dennis Hopman served as interim president from March to November, 1998, and Gene Biever then served as interim until a permanent president could be found.