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Riverland names interim VP of academic, student affairs

Riverland Community College has selected Mary Davenport, from St. Paul College, as the interim vice president of academic and student affairs.

Davenport will start Sept. 5. She replaces Ron Langrell, who left the college in July.

Davenport has been serving as the interim dean of health and service programs at St. Paul College. Prior to that, she served in the system office of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as executive director for state and federal government relations.

Davenport’s career in higher education began in 1981 with eight years of teaching at Truman State University, University of Wisconsin-Stout and Colorado State University. She served the next five years as academic administrator at Hibbing Technical College, followed by two years as the chief tech prep program manager for the state of Minnesota under the technical college system.

When the systems merged, Davenport served as the system director for educational grant programs, which included serving as the chief administrator for Minnesota’s Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act program. She led efforts to deliver the first collaborative state plan, with positive outcomes bridging secondary and college career and technical education pathways. During her tenure within MnSCU, she received both state and national recognition for her work in career and technical education, and government relations.


"I am very impressed with Mary’s background," said Kent Hanson, Riverland’s interim president. "She has a very open and collaborative leadership style that will be a good fit for Riverland."

Davenport earned her doctoral degree in occupational and educational studies at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.; an education specialist degree in guidance and counseling at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; master of science degrees in textiles and related art and in family and consumer science education from UW-Stout and a bachelor's degree in family and consumer science education from UW-Stevens Point.

Hanson, still in his first month as interim president, was committed to filling the position vacated by Langrell on an interim basis until the permanent president is hired during the upcoming academic year. Hanson was named interim president to replace Terry Leas, who left the Riverland presidency for a similar position in Washington state.

"One option would have been to hold off on the hiring of this position, but I felt I couldn’t be responsible for both positions (interim president and interim vice president of academic and student affairs,," Hanson said. "I felt it was important to our college and students to have this important ‘go to’ position in place."

Hanson also reintegrated the academic and student affairs responsibilities into Davenport’s position to align these key college areas.

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