Letter on Board Chair Transition

May 4, 2020

Dear Members of the Albion College Community,

We are writing to share news of leadership changes on the Albion College Board of Trustees. Because you are a trusted friend of the College, we wanted to reach out personally before the news is shared more broadly through the media.

Mike Harrington will step into the role of Chairman of the Board effective May 4. He has served as a Trustee since 2012, chairing the Search Committee that recently identified Dr. Mathew Johnson as the 17th President of Albion College. Mike brings a wealth of leadership experience and knowledge from his tenure as General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Eli Lilly and Company. A member of Delta Tau Delta back in the day, he’s married to alumna Judy Small Harrington, ’86, and the father of Jack, a Sigma Nu in the Class of 2021.

Mike takes over the role of Chair from Don Sheets, who joined the Board in 2006 and served as Chair for the past seven years. Don will remain on the Board, transitioning to lead our Finance Committee. His institutional knowledge of the College and the Board, in combination with his strong background in finance earned during his tenure as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Dow Corning Corporation, make Don indispensable as the College faces this critical juncture.

Make no mistake about it: This is a critical time in the history of Albion College. We are seeing greater competition than ever for students. Albion recently completed a comprehensive plan that will guide our actions in the next several years, so the College is fresh with enthusiasm and new initiatives to address the challenges facing higher education. And then COVID-19 arrived, adding an immense new challenge for the College to manage. The quick thinking and hard work of our faculty and staff under the leadership of Dr. Mauri Ditzler allowed us to transition seamlessly to distance learning, safeguarding those students who needed to remain on campus to finish the semester. We are proud of the fact we were able to host one of Michigan’s first virtual commencements to honor the achievements of the Class of 2020.

As we turn our preparation to fall, the world will be a different place—and so will Albion. We could not be more confident in our choice of the next president. Dr. Johnson brings a strong background in and passion for the liberal arts to his new role, which is coming at a tumultuous time in our history as a country and a College. A sociologist by training, Dr. Johnson joins us from Brown University, where he served as Associate Dean of the College for Engaged Scholarship and Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service. Mike looks forward to introducing Dr. Johnson to you after he arrives on campus July 1 and prepares to welcome what we hope will be a strong incoming first-year class.

Our abiding confidence is this: Albion College is destined not only to endure but to thrive. As the College looks to celebrate its bicentennial in 15 years, neither of us would have taken the steps we have taken without that deep-seated and unshakeable belief that Albion College WILL continue to grow and prosper. We believe that—and we need you to believe that, too. We are committed to the future of Albion College—and we hope we can count on your continued commitment and support.

Best Regards,

Michael J. Harrington signature.
Michael J. Harrington, ’85
Board of Trustees Chair

J. Donald Sheets signature.
J. Donald Sheets, ’82
Trustee & Finance Committee Chair