Dear NMC community,

We’ve undergone significant change during the last year in many aspects of our world and here at our college. Later this year the President’s Office will also face a significant change when Holly Gorton retires from NMC on June 30, 2021. As Chief of Staff to the President and the Board of Trustees she has been instrumental in many critical areas of our institution. While much of her work is done behind the scenes, her warm and engaging personality fills every room she enters and she will be greatly missed at the college.

For more than 25 years Holly has served this college with an incredible eye for detail, high standards of excellence and an encyclopedic institutional memory. She has helped lead major college wide responses to accreditation changes like building out regular schedules for significant processes for policy review and document retention. She has been an active participant in AQIP teams that revamped classification and compensation and clarified shared governance. Holly is also responsible for not only ensuring the college meets important Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act requirements, but also provides training for our elected trustees in these areas. She faithfully supported NMC’s longest serving president, Tim Nelson, throughout his tenure  and guided the college seamlessly through a highly involved transition process. Holly continued to demonstrate her dedication to this institution through her support of me in my first year as president.

While Holly’s work has been very important, constantly modeling the value of caring for all people will be her true legacy within the NMC community. It is the way she genuinely appreciates and respects the human in each of us, that allows her to connect with, and build trust with a wide variety of people to find common ground and accomplish shared goals. Her quick, full laugh and genuine smile are a rare gift to us all, and as warm as her favorite color pink.

Fortunately, we will have her with us for a few more months before she retires at the end of June to spend more time with her daughters and grandchildren. During this time we will be working together with Holly’s right hand, Lynne Moritz, to prepare for the transition. I encourage each of you to take this time to share a kind word and laugh with Holly so, despite our physical distance right now, she can know how close she is to all of us.


Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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