Finalists for President of Ridgewater College Named

Posted: March 16, 2018

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Campus visits scheduled for March 20 – 22

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 16, 2018 – Minnesota State has named the finalists who are under consideration to become the next president of Ridgewater College. The candidates are Laura Driscoll, Craig Johnson, and Jonathan Mandrell.

The candidates were recommended by a search advisory committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders and chaired by Laura Urban, president of Alexandria Technical and Community College. The candidates are scheduled to visit the campuses of Ridgewater College March 20 to 22. The campus visits present an opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and members of the community to meet and offer feedback on each of the candidates. Details of the candidate’s campus visits and the process for providing feedback are available at the Ridgewater Presidential Search web page.

Laura Driscoll

Laura Driscoll has served Casper College (WY) as executive dean of Continuing Education since 2013, and as dean of Continuing Education and Community Partnerships from 2005 to 2013. Previously, she served the University of North Dakota as director of new markets and partnerships from 2003 to 2005, and as coordinator of Credit Correspondence from 1999 to 2003. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a masters, and a doctorate from the University of North Dakota. She is scheduled to visit both campuses of Ridgewater College on Wednesday, March 21.

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson has served the South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center as executive director since 2014. Previously, he served Winona State University from 2007 to 2014 as director of the university’s campus in Rochester; Moraine Park Technical College (WI) from 2000 to 2007 as administrator of the West Bend campus; and the University of Minnesota College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (now College of Design) as academic resources coordinator/visual resources curator from 1988 to 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a master’s degree from Tulane University (LA), and a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He is scheduled to visit both campuses of Ridgewater College on Tuesday, March 20.

Jonathan Mandrell

Jonathan Mandrell has served the Sauk Valley Community College (IL) as chief academic officer and chief student services officer since 2014, dean of Instructional Services from 2012 to 2014, and as assistant professor of Criminal Justice from 2009 to 2012. Previously, he served the Oregon (IL) Police Department as a police corporal from 2003 to 2009. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from Western Illinois University, and a doctorate from Ferris State University (MI). He is scheduled to visit both campuses of Ridgewater College on Thursday, March 22.

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is expected to act on Chancellor Devinder Malhotra’s recommendation of a final candidate at its April 18 meeting. The new president is expected to begin in July 2018.


Ridgewater College is a community and technical college with campuses in the central Minnesota communities of Willmar and Hutchinson. The college serves more than 5,000 students through its nearly 100 academic programs and more than 68,000 training hours for individuals and businesses through customized training and continuing education. The college is a member of Minnesota State and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.