Kathleen Linaker Named President of Riverland Community College

Posted: April 19, 2023

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 19, 2023 –The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named Kathleen “Kat” Linaker to serve as president of Riverland Community College. Her appointment becomes effective July 1, 2023.

Kathleen Linaker head shot

“Dr. Linaker is a strong leader who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to build on the solid foundation of Riverland and position it well for the future,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “She is student-centered and is cognizant of the immense challenges many of our students must overcome to accomplish academic success and prepare for productive careers. I am delighted that she has accepted our offer to be the next leader of Riverland Community College.”

Dr. Linaker served Western Technical College (WI) as vice president of academics from 2018 to 2022. Previously, she served Mohawk Valley Community College (NY) as assistant vice president of academics and dean of the School of STEM, Health, and Natural Sciences (2016 to 2018), as dean of the Center for Life and Health Sciences (2015 to 2016), and as a SUNY Guided Pathways state coach (2016 to 2018). She served D’Youville University (NY) as the executive director of chiropractic programs (2009 to 2015). She was a faculty member from 1999 to 2009 and continues to teach one diagnostic imaging course each spring as an adjunct. She also brings 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry as an employee, small business owner, and consultant.

Some of her accomplishments include fostering equity-focused academic practices such as transitioning from remedial education courses and placement testing to placing students into college-level courses with embedded supports, increasing conversion from pre-college programming by over 200%. She led the design of a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan that, in its first year, resulted in a 10% increase in diverse hires and is narrowing equity gaps across all demographics. Her work with local employers, K12 districts, and transfer partners has resulted in increased opportunities for students, especially those in small rural districts. Her career has brought her a wide range of skills including strategic planning, leadership, project and change management, fiscal management, team building, grant management, and fundraising.

The first in her family to attend college, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alberta, a Doctor of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University (MN), and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Loyola University (IL). She is a strong advocate for community and technical college education, having witnessed firsthand generational poverty and the power of education to transform the lives of both students and their families.

Dr. Linaker will succeed Adenuga Atewologun who has served Riverland as president since 2013 and has announced his intention to retire.

About Riverland Community College

Riverland Community College, a proud member of the Minnesota State system, is a community college that strives to transform lives through excellence in service, education, and career training. Approximately 4,500 students are served annually through a wide range of credit-based educational opportunities. Of those, 55% are first generation students and 26% are students of color. With campuses in Albert Lea, Austin, and Owatonna, all located along the busy I-90 and I-35 corridors in southern Minnesota, Riverland offers more than 90 options in career technical programs and liberal arts and sciences. Students enjoy a rich college experience through a wide array of student life activities. Opportunities in theatre, music, clubs, intercollegiate sports, and student government provide an easy way for students to meet new friends, share talents, and develop leadership skills.

To learn more about Riverland or Minnesota State, visit www.riverland.edu or www.minnstate.edu.


Minnesota State includes 26 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 300,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.