Michael Grandillo has been named the new president of Lakeland College in Sheboygan. Grandillo, 54 succeeds Stephen Gould, who was named Lakeland’s president in 1998 and will retire in May after serving the college for 42 years as a teacher and administrator. Grandillo is the 15th president of Lakeland.
"I am humbled and honored to be named the 15th President of Lakeland College,” Grandillo said. “Lakeland has enjoyed 150 years of life-changing experiences and has a keen sense of social justice. I look forward, with pleasure, to a long association of building relationships and further educating our country's leaders."
Grandillo has more than three decades of private higher education and community leadership experience. He comes to Lakeland from Tiffin, Ohio where he has lived for 31 years and served as a significant presence in the region in a holistic blend of private college administrator, elected public servant and community activist and volunteer.
After starting his professional career in admissions at Ohio Northern University, Grandillo served 14 years at Heidelberg College where he worked in leadership roles in admissions and development. He has spent the last 17 years as Tiffin University’s vice president for development and public affairs and as an adjunct instructor of political science.
“My wife, Nancy, and I have been part of the Tiffin community for such a long time, so it was critical to us to find just the right fit if we decided to leave,” Grandillo said. “Clearly, finding the person that would be the right fit to lead this institution was also a priority for Lakeland. I see a power that permeates Lakeland – and that power is an overwhelming ethos that changes peoples’ lives through education. My experiences at ONU, Heidelberg and Tiffin will augment the goals of the trustees. Since Lakeland is a college of the United Church of Christ that wants to grow and raise its academic presence, which provides an even better match.”
“Dr. Grandillo has spent more than 30 years working at institutions that bear many similarities to Lakeland,” said Robert Melzer, chairman of the Lakeland Board of Trustees. “We face many of the same challenges, including developing and managing our resources, creating and maintaining programs that attract and retain quality faculty and students and continuing to develop our campus.”
Grandillo led five successful capital campaigns at Tiffin and Heidelberg, including the largest campaigns in the history of both institutions, and the endowment at both institutions tripled under his leadership. He has also enjoyed success in growing enrollment, serving a leadership role as an associate dean at Heidelberg as part of a team that doubled the college’s enrollment.
“It is clear that Dr. Grandillo is a ‘builder,’ but a ‘builder with a difference,’” said Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. “His lifelong professional focus in admissions and development, as well as his scholarly publications, have centered on students. Lakeland College has grown by responding to the changing needs of students. This is clearly a case of the right person in the right place.”