Red Deer College President Joel Ward announced his retirement which will be effective next year. Ward made the announcement on Sept. 13th in the Arts Centre. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deer College President Joel Ward announces his retirement

RDC Board of Governors has launched its search for the next president

Red Deer College President Joel Ward announced his retirement during a press conference on Sept. 13th in the Arts Centre.

“I’m so proud of everything we have already accomplished, and I look forward to leading the College through the coming year and celebrating our achievements with Central Alberta,” said Ward.

“I also want you to know that RDC is well-positioned to manage and create a university that will serve our communities well into the future,” he said. “It’s because of the support of our communities and each and every one of you, that our future is bright indeed,” he said. “But the time has come for a changing of the guard. New and different leadership is required to ensure RDC becomes a university of which we can all be proud of,” he said.

“Through the extensive planning that has been undertaken and the expertise of the people who are leading the way and doing the work each and every day, I’m confident that this institution will continue to change the lives of our students and community members in profound ways.

“I’m also confident that the next generation of leaders is right here, right now.”

Ward has been RDC president since 2009, and has always been a passionate advocate for Red Deer College, said Morris Flewwelling, board chair.

Highlights of his tenure include the opening of the Donald School of Business in downtown Red Deer, the opening of the Welikoklad Centre downtown as well, and of course the confirmation of coming university status for RDC.

“We’ve had a tremendous time of growth at Red Deer College, with the opening of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre which is now in full use by our students, partners and community members. And very soon, we will also celebrate the opening of the Alternative Energy Lab,” said Flewwelling, adding that the announcement of university status is, “Perhaps the icing on all of that cake.

“All leaders wish to leave an organization they serve in a better place then when they arrive – Joel has been such a leader,” he said. “From the beginning of his time here, he has had an unwavering future-focused vision for Red Deer College. He always has seen the possibilities and recognized the needs of our learners and the communities of Central Alberta that we serve,” said Flewwelling. “He’s passionate about the role that our institution plays in our community.”

Flewwelling said that in the meantime, RDC will continue with a busy and exciting year working towards the university transition.

“Joel will be an integral part of all of these activities, as he continues to lead the College through these changes and celebrations for one final year,” he said.

Flewwelling said the board now moves on to one of its most important functions in the selection and hiring of a new president.

“In the immediate future, we will seek the input of internal and external stakeholders to help determine what qualities, skills, attributes and characteristics prospective candidates should possess.”

Flewwelling said that the board’s goal is to have an individual in place for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.