Posted: April 20, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Ronald Kraft

Ronald Kraft

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees, acting Wednesday on recommendations by Chancellor James H. McCormick, appointed interim presidents for Hennepin Technical College and Northland Community and Technical College.

Ronald V. Kraft will serve at Hennepin Technical College, and James R. Davis will serve at Northland Community and Technical College.

Kraft, vice president of student affairs at Hennepin Technical College, will replace retiring President Sharon Grossbach. Davis, emeritus president of Lehigh Carbon Community College near Allentown, Pa., will replace President Orley Gunderson, who is retiring.

"Both candidates are extremely well-suited to these interim appointments," McCormick said.

As interim presidents, Kraft and Davis will lead the colleges for about a year while searches for permanent replacements are conducted. Under a policy of the Board of Trustees, interim presidents are not eligible to be considered for the permanent positions.

"James Davis is no stranger to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system," McCormick said. "Three years ago, he served as interim president of Riverland Community College. That appointment, in addition to his experience as president of five community colleges over the past 31 years, shows that he will be a strong leader." His appointment takes effect Aug. 1.

Davis served as president of Lehigh Carbon Community College from 1992 to 2000. Prior to that, he served as president of the Royal Oak and Southfield campuses of Oakland Community College in Michigan, Wenatchee Valley College in Washington, McHenry County College in Illinois and Wabash Valley College in Illinois. He also has served as assistant to the president of Highland Community College in Illinois.

Davis, 67, has taught communication, personnel, organizational behavior and management courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He began his career as a high school English and speech teacher in Freeport, Ill., and West Dubuque High School in Iowa. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Dubuque and a master's degree and doctorate in educational administration and supervision from the University of Illinois.

James Davis

James Davis

"Northland Community and Technical College provides many excellent programs," Davis said. "I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff and the community to continue helping the college develop and thrive."

Davis and his wife, Shirley, live near Worthington, Minn., He said they plan to move near the college, which is a comprehensive liberal arts and technical college with campuses in East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls that serves nearly 5,000 students. Its largest programs include the liberal arts, construction electricity, criminal justice, business management, nursing, sales, marketing and management.

"Ronald Kraft has a rich history of involvement in our system and will serve the college in good stead," McCormick said. His appointment takes effect July 1.

Kraft has been vice president of student affairs at Hennepin Technical College since 2002. From 1996 to 2002, he served as dean of student affairs for the college or at its Brooklyn Park campus. Previously, he served in various administrative capacities, including as campus president at Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, and as an administrator at Bemidji Technical College. He began his career as a teacher and work experience coordinator at Roseau High School in 1971.

Kraft, 57, holds a master's degree in counseling and guidance from Bemidji State University and a bachelor's degree in social studies from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He also has engaged in doctoral studies in educational administration at the University of Minnesota.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue serving an institution that is near and dear to my heart. I look forward to continuing the proud tradition of excellence at Hennepin Technical College," Kraft said.

Kraft, and his wife, Karen, live in Ramsey, Minn.

Hennepin Technical College has campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie with sites in Plymouth, Hopkins and Bloomington and serves more than 9,000 students. The college has achieved national certification in culinary arts, health careers and transportation. Its largest programs include practical nursing, automotive mechanics, carpentry, professional photography and dental assistant.