Posted: July 27, 2007

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick said today he will recommend that the Board of Trustees appoint Joseph P. Opatz as president of Normandale Community College in Bloomington.

Opatz, 55, is currently vice president for academic and student affairs at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. He was the interim president at Central Lakes College in 2005-2006, and he has served as a representative from St. Cloud in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The chancellor's recommendation will be considered by the Board of Trustees at a special meeting on Monday. Opatz was one of three finalists recommended to the chancellor by a search committee chaired by Larry Litecky, president of Century College in White Bear Lake.

"We're pleased that Dr. Opatz has risen through the system," McCormick said. "He has served in leadership roles in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for more than 20 years. A strong advocate for the community college mission of open access and community responsiveness, Dr. Opatz is particularly well suited to lead one of our largest community colleges."

Before his positions at Central Lakes College, Opatz served as interim executive dean and dean of instructional programs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College; associate vice president for academic affairs at St. Cloud State University; a visiting scholar in the Department of Educational Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota; special assistant to the president, director of the University Student Center and adjunct faculty member, all at St. Cloud State University; director of the Health Promotion Program at St. Cloud Hospital; executive director of the National Wellness Institute and adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point; senior personnel administrator for Hennepin County government and director of the Student Center at the College of New Jersey in Trenton.

Opatz holds a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Minnesota, a master's degree in counseling and student personnel from Kent State University in Ohio and a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Cloud State University.

The new president will replace Katherine Hiyane-Brown, who resigned to become president of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. Normandale Community College serves more than 13,000 students in credit courses annually and provides a variety of educational programs and delivery options.