Deanna McCormick Named Vice President for Finance and Administration

May 21, 2018

A headshot of a person.

Deanna McCormick, who has spent three decades in college finance, is Albion College’s new vice president for finance and administration.

By Chuck Carlson

A few months ago, Deanna McCormick received a phone call she hadn’t expected.

It was from an old colleague, Mauri Ditzler, with whom she had worked almost 20 years earlier when she was chief financial officer and treasurer at Wabash College in Indiana and he was the provost.

Now he was the president of Albion College and she was vice president for finance and business at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

“He said, ‘Will you talk to me about this job?’” McCormick said, adding, “I didn’t take much convincing.”

“I was looking for someone who would be excited,” Ditzler said. “I didn’t offer her the job then and she didn’t accept, but she was intrigued.”

Eventually an offer did come and McCormick accepted it. After wrapping up her final day at Wooster on May 18, she started her new job as Albion’s vice president for finance and administration on May 21.

“I’m looking for new challenges and looking for someone with an outstanding vision who wants to move it forward,” said McCormick, who has worked for 30 years as a business leader in higher education, primarily in the realm of private liberal arts colleges. “Mauri is such a visionary. He’s always 10 steps ahead of everybody else.”

For his part, Ditzler was prepared to go through a national search to find a replacement for Jerry White, who left the College in February to become chief operations officer at the Culver Academies in Indiana. That’s when he remembered McCormick.

“When I was at Wabash I’d go to her and say, ‘I need [to hire] another faculty person,’” he said. “And she’d say, ‘You’re the academic, find the person. I’m finance, I’ll figure out how to pay for it.’ She’s a big-picture person. She sees challenges and opportunities, and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”

McCormick plans to hit the ground running and hopes to assimilate the model Ditzler brought with him—that the College and community can and must work together for each to be successful. To that end, she plans to work closely with the Albion Economic Development Corp. as well as with individual community leaders.

“Part of my position is working with economic development in the City of Albion,” she said. “I want to be well known in town.”

And while she said she is concerned how the financial model for small liberal arts colleges has become much more challenging over the years, she is encouraged by Albion’s direction, especially its rising enrollment.

“The situation is overwhelming for private colleges,” she said. “It’s not insurmountable but it will take patience. I think Mauri’s ready for that.”

McCormick is a New Castle, Ind., native who earned her B.S. in business management and administration with honors from Indiana University in 1983, and her master’s in business administration from Indiana in 1987.

Numbers have always been a part of her life. McCormick’s first professional chapters saw her work for the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue officer and as a consultant at the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche. She then moved into higher education: at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis; Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor; Wabash College; Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa; Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore; and for the last four years at the College of Wooster.

“I’ve gained a passion for the liberal arts and what it does for kids,” she said. “I’ve seen kids transform into outstanding young men and women thanks to the liberal arts.”

Ditzler believes McCormick is the right person at the right time for Albion.

“She was looking for a place with lots of promise but enough challenges for a capstone experience,” he said. “She said, ‘I want to go someplace where my experience will make a difference.”

And after a phone call she never expected, McCormick is convinced she has found that opportunity.

“There’s a lot of electricity and a lot of enthusiasm on campus,” she said. “They’re buying into [Mauri’s] vision, and those I have met are ready to move forward in a big way. It’s an exciting time for the College.”

McCormick, who usually goes by Dee, and her husband of 32 years, David, are excited to be joining the Albion community and will live very close to campus. “We want to be immersed in the life of both the College and the community,” she said.

Albion College is a private liberal arts college located in south central Michigan. Founded in 1835, Albion was the first private college in Michigan to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The College is best known for its distinctive blend of liberal arts education and pre-professional preparation in business, public service, the sciences, and medicine. Albion College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Michigan Campus Compact, an organization dedicated to encouraging student volunteerism.