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Denise Henning College board pleased with its choice of new president

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NORTHWEST Community College’s new president begins work March 1.

Dr. Denise Henning comes to the college from a job as the president of the University College of the North based in The Pas in northern Manitoba.

She was named president of that institution in 2006, overseeing growth in students, programs and facilities.

Born in Oklahoma, Henning received her doctorate in Educational Management and Development from New Mexico State University.

She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Urban Studies and Anthropology from the University of Nebraska.

Prior to her presidency in Manitoba, Henning worked at the University of Regina and at the First Nations University of Canada.

Henning replaces Stephanie Forsyth who, ironically, moved to Manitoba last fall to take over as president of another Manitoba post secondary institution, Red River College in Winnipeg.

Northwest Community College chair Rhoda Witherly welcomed Henning’s appointment, saying the University College of the North and the college here are alike in many respects.

Both have locations spread out over a large geographic territory, noted Witherly.

Witherly said Henning was chosen from a list of very qualified candidates, any one of whom would have had the skill set necessary for the presidency.

“Once you have that, then you look at personality and experience,” said Witherly in adding the similarities between the institutions were a factor in the college board’s decision making.

“She fit the criteria,” Witherly said of what the college wanted for the next president.

Witherly acknowledged that the college did say it preferred to hire an aboriginal person and although Henning is aboriginal, added that it was not a deciding factor.

“It added to the mix but was not what made the deal,” said Witherly of Henning’s ethnicity.

Henning’s former employer has main campuses in Thompson and The Pas and centres in 12 smaller communities throughout northern Manitoba.

That’s similar to Northwest Community College, which has its central campus in Terrace and facilities in eight other locations.

The University College of the North last year announced a planned expenditure of more than $80 million for a new campus in Thompson.

In its latest annual report for the 2009-2010 year, the University College of the North stated it had a payroll of 400 people, approximately 2,400 students and a budget of just under $37 million.

Northwest Community College’s budget in the last year is smaller, just under $27 million, and its latest student count is 2,161 full time equivalents.

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