Finalists Named for Presidency of Winona State University

Posted: February 8, 2024

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 8, 2024 – Minnesota State has named three finalists in the search for the next president of Winona State University. The finalists are Mary Bonderoff, Karim Ismaili, and Kenneth Janz.

The candidates were recommended by a search advisory committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders, and was chaired by Kumara Jayasuriya, president of Southwest Minnesota State University. The candidates are scheduled to conduct campus visits between Feb. 12 and Feb. 15. The campus visits provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to meet each of the candidates and offer feedback. Details of the candidates’ campus visits and the process for providing feedback are available at


ary Bonderoff currently serves as acting president of State University of New York (SUNY), Delhi, a role she has held since May, 2022. Previously, she served SUNY Central Administration as special advisor to the chancellor from 2021 to 2022. She served SUNY Morrisville as vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer from 2020 to 2022 and chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator from 2017 to 2020. She also served SUNY Oneonta from 1996 to 2017 in various capacities including director of the Center for Multicultural Experiences, director of student diversity and advocacy, and director of diversity education and campus outreach. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from SUNY Oneonta and a doctorate from Northeastern University (MA). She is scheduled to visit the Rochester campus of Winona State University on Wednesday, February 14, and the Winona campus on Thursday, February 15.

Karim Ismaili headshot
Karim Ismaili
has served Bridgewater State University (MA) as executive vice president and provost since 2021. Previously, he served Bridgewater as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2018 to 2021 (interim from 2016 to 2017), special advisor to the president for university priorities and global engagement in 2016, vice provost from 2014 to 2016, and dean of the College of Graduate Studies from 2013 to 2014. He also served Kennesaw State University (GA) from 2010 to 2013 as associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Toronto Metropolitan University from 2006 to 2010 as inaugural chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University (Canada), a master’s from the University of Cambridge, and a doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. He is scheduled to visit the Rochester campus of Winona State University on Monday, February 12, and the Winona campus on Tuesday, February 13.


Kenneth Janz
currently serves as interim president of Winona State University, a role he has held since August, 2023. Previously, he served WSU from 2008 to 2023 as associate vice president for Academic Affairs and CIO and added the role of dean of the library in 2015. Previous appointments include serving Indiana State University as the director of the Center for Instruction, Research, and Technology from 2003 to 2008, and as the director of information technology – College of Education from 1998 to 2003. He holds bachelor’s degrees from Dickinson State University (ND), a master’s from North Dakota State University, and a doctorate from Indiana State University. He is scheduled to visit the Rochester campus of Winona State University on Tuesday, February 13, and the Winona campus on Wednesday, February 14.

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is expected to consider Chancellor Scott Olson’s recommendation at its March 20, 2024 meeting. The anticipated start date of the new president is July 1, 2024. 


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.