WWU Doctoral Candidate Named Community College President

A William Woods University doctoral candidate will serve as president of  John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill., beginning April 1. The college’s board of trustees selected Michael Elbe as the institution’s sixth president in February.

Mike Elbe
Mike Elbe

An educational leadership doctoral candidate at WWU, Elbe recently earned an Education Specialist in Administration (Ed.S.) as part of his doctoral work.  He received a Master of Science degree in education from the University of South Alabama and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Quincy University.

“My experiences through the Ed.S. program at William Woods allowed me to grow and gain valuable knowledge and leadership skills to prepare me for this presidential position,” Elbe said.  “The class facilitators provided real-life experiences for our cohort, which was critical in developing our leadership styles and philosophies.”

Elbe succeeds Dr. John Letts, who will retire March 31 following more than 25 years at JWCC, serving as president in his final two years at the college.

“Mike proved himself every step of the way against some incredible candidates,” Randy Sims, JWCC board and presidential search committee chair, said.  “We are proud to say that we have a respected new leader committed to this community who will collaboratively grow the college through relationship building with students, employees and private business.”

Sims also mentioned the qualities that made Elbe stand out as a candidate.

“His character, his charisma, Mike’s ability to answer questions,” said Sims. “Mike is just a likeable person. I think when you have a conversation with Mike Elbe, you come away and you’re happy that you had that conversation. Not a lot of people have that ability to do that.”

Elbe has served as JWCC’s vice president for student services since 2012.  In that role, he led the areas of admissions, records, career and advising, educational support grant programs, financial aid, veterans’ affairs, student life and athletics.

“I feel like those relationships that I’ve been able to nurture and build over the last, really the last 30 years of my life have really helped me to obtain this position but also will assist me in the transition to become president,” said Elbe.

Mike Elbe at class on the night he was announced as JWCC president (photo by Roger Wen)
Mike Elbe at class on the night he was announced as JWCC president (photo by Roger Wen)

Over the course of his 26 years of professional experience, Elbe has served at four, four-year colleges in addition to his 13 years of service as director of student life and athletics at JWCC.  He served as director of student life and as assistant dean of students for the University of Dubuque.

He was an academic adviser for the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, served as a resident director for St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in North Carolina and also served as a graduate assistant for the University of Southern Alabama.  Elbe served as a faculty member at each of the four-year colleges where his was employed.

In addition to his administrative roles at JWCC, Elbe coached John Wood Trail Blazer men’s basketball for 13 seasons, compiling a 246-165 record. He received regional, district and conference Coach of the Year honors and led two teams that finished fifth and seventh in the nation.

During his tenure at JWCC, Elbe has led and served on several college committees.  He served as a team leader for JWCC’s Higher Learning Commission self-study, was vice chair of the JWCC Leadership Council, served on Risk Management and Integrated Marketing Teams and numerous hiring committees.  He was named JWCC Professional Staff Member of the Year in 1996 and received the President’s Appreciation Award in 2009.

Active professionally and in the community, Elbe is co-chair of the professional division of the United Way of Adams County annual campaign, served as a team leader for the American Red Cross Heroes Campaign and presents “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” programs at local schools.