It is with mixed emotions that I provide you notice that I will retire from my position as President of Northwestern Michigan College 14 months from now on December 31, 2019. By providing this notification now, there is sufficient time to execute a thoughtful, inclusive search for my successor. Rest assured, I will continue to give you my all during the ensuing time.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, the college and the region. I am incredibly proud of what the college has achieved during my time at NMC. We have committed ourselves to keeping learning at the center. This provides a basis to achieve our ultimate purpose, which is to provide you, our learners, and communities, with the skills, experiences and values that will help you to create social and economic wealth during your lifetime.

I have seen a lot of change in the almost 18 years I have been serving as president. Critical programs, such as maritime and aviation, have been redesigned; and first in the nation programming has been developed, including our marine tech and UAS programs. In each area of the college, people are innovating in order to assure learners’ success in a global society and economy. We now view our community as the world and are recognized as a leader in study abroad and international delivery of specialty programs. The physical, technical and data infrastructures of all our campuses have been completely rebuilt and renewed. As I look to the future, I am humbled to think that the people, programs and systems we have developed, position this institution for continued success in meeting our purpose well into the future.

I will truly miss not being here to continue to lead current initiatives or start new projects we have on the horizon, but at NMC there will always be great people designing and implementing new and innovative projects and practices. We are blessed with a dedicated college leadership, staff and faculty. You should have great confidence in their abilities to carry out the strategic agenda of NMC as we achieve our mission.

The Board, with more than 42 years combined experience representing the voters in leading NMC, has begun thinking about the succession process and how best to seek input from the college’s many stakeholder groups. I look forward to the next 14 months as I continue in my current role and will serve actively as an advisor during the transition period with support from the college’s long serving leadership team. Updates to this public process will be made available at

My family and I intend to remain residents of Traverse City and will actively support NMC in any way we can. I’m not sure what lies ahead for us except I am sure we will continue to work to improve our communities. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to work with and for you and this amazing college.

Timothy J. Nelson