College of DuPage President Ann Rondeau's last day at the college will be Dec. 31 after she accepted a job as president of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
Rondeau said she was not looking to leave the college, but when the Secretary of the Navy personally called her in September and offered her the job, she couldn’t refuse. The retired Navy vice admiral had begun her tenure at COD in July 2016.
“My decision to leave is based on a calling. I’m happy here, and I wasn’t planning on leaving,” Rondeau said. “This is a calling for a national mission. I’ll be working to educate naval officers in the 21st century. My coming to COD was a calling, and this next phase is a calling. I was meant to be here, and now I’m meant to be there. It’s based on a sense of purpose.”
Rondeau, who is the college’s sixth president and the first woman to hold the position, previously served as president of the National Defense University in Washington D.C. and commander of the Naval Service Training Command Center at Great Lakes.
Under Rondeau’s leadership, COD was removed from probation by the Higher Learning Commission, and it launched Innovation DuPage, a cooperative venture and nonprofit corporation that promotes business growth and job creation, and created Project Higher-Ed, which focuses on classroom curriculum and on-the-job training skills.
“I’m very pleased about the progress we made in the culture at COD,” Rondeau said. “This is a healthy institution in every way. Our credit rating keeps going up, faculty and administration collaboration has increased and students are in great shape. The district and the county have every reason to be proud of College of DuPage and our accomplishments.”
Deanne Mazzochi, chairwoman of the college’s Board of Trustees, said while the board is saddened Rondeau is leaving, she understands the president’s commitment and duty to the Navy come first.
“Every day she honored the goodness of what we do for our students and the community at the College of DuPage,” Mazzochi said in a statement. “We have long known that other colleges and universities found her accomplishments here attractive. I am confident that with Dr. Rondeau in her new position, and given the fantastic work already begun, the college will be able to reach new heights and expand our partnerships towards an innovative future.”
Rondeau said during the next two months she will continue to be dedicated to the college and will “stay focused” on her current job.
“I will start looking forward to the new work in the new year,” she said. “I’m profoundly proud and privileged to lead [the COD] team, and I was humbled to be called to serve this great institution. When I leave, it will be with great respect and admiration for everyone involved with COD.”
The board has a regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 18, where it will begin discussions to appoint an interim president, who will begin Jan. 1, 2019.