Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

Global Liberal Arts Alliance

Kalamazoo College Provost Named Eighth President of the Great Lakes Colleges Association


Kalamazoo College Provost Named Eighth President
of the Great Lakes Colleges Association

cDUGAL Michael McDonald 2016 6711  (photo by Anthony Dugal)

The Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Board of Directors announces that Michael A. (Mickey) McDonald will become the eighth President of the consortium in its 55-year history, effective July 2018. He brings to this role 25 years of experience both as a faculty member and administrator at liberal arts colleges.

The selection of McDonald was the result of a national search beginning in the spring of 2017, shortly after the current President, Richard A. Detweiler, announced he would retire from the position following more than a dozen years of service.  The search committee, including member college presidents and other campus representatives, was led by Chair of the Board of Directors and President of Allegheny College James H. Mullen, Jr. McDonald was chosen for the position out of a highly selective pool from across the United States.

“Throughout the selection process,” Chair Mullen said, “our committee worked to identify a candidate who conveyed an understanding of the GLCA and a desire to build on what it has created.  We looked for a person who clearly understood the mission and values of the GLCA, and who exhibited a deep commitment to liberal arts education and what it stands for. Dr. McDonald emerged as this candidate, and we are delighted to welcome him as our next President.”

McDonald’s experience and values align closely with the goals of this consortium of selective Midwest liberal arts colleges; he sees this position as a chance to contribute to the vitality of liberal arts colleges on a broader scale.  “I am humbled and thrilled to serve as President of the GLCA,” said McDonald, adding, “I am excited about collaboratively advancing our commitments to the centrality of the liberal arts in today’s world and promoting its role in preparing our students to be leaders, entrepreneurs and effective global citizens.”

A graduate of Davidson College and Duke University, McDonald was a faculty member of mathematics from 1993 to 2008 at Occidental College, where he also served in several administrative leadership roles. He was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2001-2002. 

For the past ten years, McDonald has served as Provost of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  During this time, he has hired approximately one-third of the faculty at the College and increased the proportion of women and faculty of color in tenure-line positions. He helped secure more than $3.25 million in grants from major foundations including, among others, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Sherman-Fairchild Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). In collaboration with the College’s President and others, he worked to envision and establish the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, now supported by a $20 million endowment from the Arcus Foundation. He also served as Kalamazoo College’s Acting President in winter 2014 and is co-chairing the College’s current strategic planning initiative. 

As Provost of a GLCA member college at which 70 percent of students engage in off-campus study, McDonald places a strong emphasis on international and intercultural learning as a component of liberal arts education.  He has been an active participant in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance (GLAA), a program providing opportunities for collaboration and development to faculty and staff of GLCA’s 13 member colleges in addition to 16 independent higher education institutions in different parts of the world.  McDonald has called the GLAA “an incredibly unique opportunity” for faculty and leaders of participating colleges to enrich intercultural knowledge and understanding in the liberal arts.



Jim Mullen, Allegheny College and Rick Detweiler, GLCA, welcome Mickey as the Eighth GLCA President with small tokens at the last GLCA Board of Directors Meeting.  

mullen mcdonald     detweiler mcdonald

(photos by Charla White)





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Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The Great Lakes Colleges Association
535 West William. Suite 301
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

+1.734.661.2350 (voice)
+1.734.661.2349 (fax)