Seymour is named vice chancellor at UMD

Mike Seymour, an administrator at Anoka-Ramsey Community College for the past 15 years has a new job.

Mike Seymour
Mike Seymour

Seymour has been named vice chancellor for finance and operations at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) with a July 2 starting date.

His last day at Anoka-Ramsey, where he most recently served as vice president of finance and operations, was May 31.

According to Seymour, with the alignment of Anoka-Ramsey and Anoka Technical College, he felt it was time “to move on professionally.”

He had been a finalist for the position as president of St. Paul Technical College last year before the UMD position opened up, Seymour said.

But leaving Anoka-Ramsey has been bittersweet for Seymour, he said.

Not only that, Seymour has been very active in the community.

He is president of the Anoka Kiwanis Club and the Coon Rapids Lions Club Foundation and has also served on the board of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Coon Rapids.

Not that Seymour plans to server his ties with the county immediately.

Seymour plans to commute the 50 miles from his cabin in Wisconsin to Duluth for the next year and return to his Anoka County home and his wife, Karla, and their two children, Tori, 17, and Tyler, 13, on weekends.

That’s because the Seymours want Tori to complete her senior year and graduate from Anoka High School and Tyler to finish middle school at the Anoka Middle School for the Arts before they move to Duluth.

“District 11 is a fine school district,” Seymour said. “We have had a great experience with the schools.”

And Seymour plans to finish out his term as president of the Kiwanis club, which will end Sept. 30, he said.

Seymour grew up in Escanaba, Mich., close to Lake Michigan, and earned two undergraduate degrees and a master of science degree in career and technical education from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.

He is currently a candidate for a doctorate in adult and higher education at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D.

He taught at the technical college, community college and university levels before moving into administration, where he has been a dean, chief information officer, chief financial officer, chief academic officer and vice president of student affairs.

Seymour came to Anoka-Ramsey in 1997 as chief information/technical director from Riverland Community and Technical College in Austin, Minn., where he was a teacher in the media/telecommunications program.

When Seymour arrived at Anoka-Ramsey, the “computer revolution was in full gear” and he was involved in a “massive computer deployment,” he said.

The goal was to provide the necessary technology capabilities for faculty, staff and students in a cost efficient manner as well as to ensure customer service, according to Seymour.

“I think we were pretty successful,” Seymour said.

Seymour moved into the job of vice president of finance and administration in 2002 on the retirement of longtime Anoka-Ramsey administrator Bonnie Anderson.

But he also stepped into academic leadership roles when vacancies occurred, Seymour said.

As chief financial officer, Seymour said he worked with Pat Johns, who was Anoka-Ramsey president for 22 years, to continue the college’s long history of financial viability that had been put in place by another former president, Neil Christenson.

Anoka-Ramsey has had a reputation for having a “very efficient operation” as well as the lowest tuition among colleges and universities in the MnSCU (Minnesota Colleges and Universities) system without skimping on the quality of the education provided to students, Seymour said.

“We have strived to keep costs low for students,” he said.

“We have made it work thanks to a highly productive work force.”

And Anoka-Ramsey has also been able to add upper division programs by collaborating with four-year universities, Seymour said.

But his work at Anoka-Ramsey has also emphasized community involvement, getting people to the college to see what the college has to offer, as well as taking part in community organizations and coaching youth athletic programs, he said.

Besides his membership and participation in community organizations, Seymour has also coached basketball, baseball and football in the Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association.

Seymour’s dedication to Anoka-Ramsey and to the surrounding communities is a major factor in solidifying  the college’s secure financial position for the future, according to Mary Jacobson, director of marketing and public relations, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College.

“His innovative solutions positioned the college as a resource and fierce competitor in the system with state-of-the-art facilities and ground-breaking initiatives,” Jacobson wrote in an e-mail.

In leaving Anoka-Ramsey, Seymour said he was looking for the right fit.

“UMD is a great fit for my skill sets and experience,” he said.

His administrative style is to be “fiscally mindful and community oriented,” Seymour said.

According to UMD Chancellor Lendley C. Black, UMD “is especially pleased” to bring Seymour to Duluth.

“His administrative accomplishments in financial planning and management are impressive,” Black said in a UMD press release announcing Seymour’s appointment.

“He is committed to diversity, academic quality and collaboration.

“Mike will be an outstanding addition to my administrative team.”

According to Seymour, his years at Anoka-Ramsey have been a “tremendous experience” and he has built many friendships.

“But it is time to move on professionally,” Seymour said.

To be at one place for 15 years is unusual in college administration and it has meant “that I have had to say no more times than anyone else,” he said.

And some of the same challenges that he had in his job at Anoka-Ramsey will await him at UMD, Seymour said.

“All higher education faces the same challenge of few state dollars,” he said.

“The challenge is to figure out how do business differently to keep tuition increases in check.”

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]