HFCC president may retain position longer than expected

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Henry Ford Community College will see administrative changes in its future, but those changes might take place later than expected.

In May, HFCC President Gail Mee announced during a Board of Trustees meeting that she will leave her position to pursue other opportunities. Mee, who agreed to remain in her position until a new president is appointed, originally planned to leave on Dec. 31, when her contract expired, but is currently talking with the board to stay on longer, she said.

“I had planned to leave on Dec. 31 and that still is really my plan,” Mee said Wednesday. “However, the board is talking about what they are going to be doing until they find someone new and… it is possible that I will be staying at the college through June 30.”

The Board of Trustees can extend Mee’s contract, but if she plans to leave in December she will be paid through the end of March and give 60 days notice before leaving, according to a published report. Her current salary is $181,438; she will receive that amount as a severance.

Mee joined HFCC as president in July 2006; she is the fourth president of the college and the first woman to serve in that role.

During her tenure, enrollment at HFCC increased more than 45 percent, from 13,000 to 19,000 students each semester.

As president, Mee led capital projects including the creation of a new School of Nursing, a new Enrollment Services Center, and major improvements to roads, parking lots and landscaping on the main campus.

Mee also secured state funding for a new Science Center, which opened this month. She also led the development of new programs in Biotechnology, Alternative Energy, and Arab Cultural Studies.

She also collaborated with Henry Ford Hospital and Dearborn Public Schools to create the Henry Ford Early College, a five-year program that lets students earn both a high school diploma from the Dearborn Public Schools and an associate’s degree in health care from Henry Ford Community College.

Mee has received many other awards during her tenure at the college, including the 2012 Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award from HFCC, the 2009 AAPAC Public Service Award, and the 2008 YWCA Women of Achievement Business Leadership Award, along with many other awards.

Mee also is active in the community.

Mee said she has been extremely fortunate to serve at HFCC, although she said it is time for a change.

“I had been here six years and we had accomplished quite a lot and it was time to think about other opportunities,” Mee said. “And it was a very intense and demanding position and I think I wanted to have the opportunity to pursue other interests.”

Some of those interests are personal and professional, she said.

“There would be opportunities to spend more time with family” on the East coast, Mee said. “I am pursuing some possible professional plans.”

According to a published report the trustees are working with consultants R.H. Perry & Associates on the search for a new HFCC president.

Board of Trustees Chairwoman Mary Lane did not return an email request in time for publication.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)