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Audrey Warrick served at MCCC for 36 years

When MCCC President Jerry Welch announced that he would retire at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year, the search for a new president began in earnest.

The desire to work from within first was highlighted, as well as the selection process – including compliance with the Open Meetings Act to allow for public forums and limit the need for closed sessions. Several guests who attended the February 23, 2000 special board meeting gave their opinions on how the search should be conducted and which candidates should be considered.

Ultimately, two internal candidates – Audrey Warrick, MCCC vice president of instruction and William Guerriero, MCCC dean of business – were submitted for consideration. A vote was taken to interview both candidates, and the interviews were to take place on Wednesday, April 12, 2000, beginning at 5:00 PM. Four MCCC employee groups and a student group would be allowed to ask each candidate questions for 10 minutes, and each candidate would make their own separate opening and closing remarks. A special board meeting was scheduled for the next day to decide the next steps in the hiring process.

As the April 13 special meeting began, MCCC board member William J. Bacarella Jr. recognized each candidate’s interview skills and professionalism. Both candidates pledged to invest in MCCC’s human capital and promote open dialogue at the student and employee levels. After all deliberations had taken place, the recommendation to install Warrick as MCCC’s third president received a unanimous vote and a standing ovation for Warrick.

Warrick grew up in Orrville, Ohio and attended Capital University in Columbus as a music major (piano and voice). After graduation, she taught at Columbus Public Schools for two years and then moved to the Toledo area. There, Warrick taught high school music in the Sylvania Schools for three years. After receiving a scholarship, Warrick attended the University of Toledo for a year and earned her master’s degree in counseling.

In the mid-1960s, school counseling was still a male-dominated field, as counselors were considered administrators and held most key positions. However, Warrick wanted to continue her job search in the Toledo/Detroit metro area and received a tip from a professor about a counseling opening at the new community college opening in Monroe. Warrick applied and stayed in the consulting position for ten years.

In those early days, Warrick and the MCCC Registrar worked with the universities to establish guidelines for MCCC students to transfer credits toward a bachelor’s degree. In Michigan, community colleges were founded to offer both liberal arts and vocational training.

Warrick then began taking on new challenges at MCCC. She loved working at the university and decided to try something new. Warrick applied for and got an administrative job in secondary education. After a few years, she became department chair of humanities and social sciences and then dean of student services. She was the dean before assuming the MCCC presidency.

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As 2003 began, Audrey Warrick indicated her intention to retire as MCCC’s third president. When Warrick first interviewed, she was asked how long she expected to stay in that role. She answered three to five years, because her husband had had two surgeries and his health was a consideration. Later in June, Warrick would announce her retirement after 36 years of service to MCCC. She would be praised for her outreach to business and industry; the addition of nine computer science programs during her tenure; facilitating open access for students; and for securing $6 million from the State of Michigan to build the Instructional Center for Business Training and Performing Arts.

— Tom Adamich is president of Visiting Librarian Service, a company he has led since 1993. He is also a project archivist for the Greening Nursery Co. and Family Archives and the electric vehicle awareness coordinator at Monroe County Community College.