The campus and community can expect some changes to the vision and the culture of Henry Ford College under the leadership of HFC’s new president Russell Kavalhuna, who joined the College in July.

However, the most important parts of HFC’s legacy will remain in place.

“HFC has been a gateway to quality higher education, serving our students and our community – that is one thing that will not change,” said Kavalhuna.

Kavalhuna’s unique background as an attorney and airline pilot makes him the right fit for leading the College into its next 80 years.

“One of the things that makes me proud about HFC is the fact that this it’s filled with talented people who don’t need me to be a manager. I am here as a leader, and we will continue to excel in services to our community and to students,” said Kavalhuna. “It’s a new era of greatness for the College. I’m thrilled to be part of this diverse community that has made HFC a successful educational institution for the past eight decades.”

Kavalhuna began his career as a commercial airline pilot and later became a federal prosecutor. Prior to coming to HFC, he was the executive director of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation – the nation’s third-largest collegiate aviation program – in Kalamazoo for three years. He also taught law at WMU Cooley Law School.

“We have a president with an authoritative management style, which means he listens,” said HFC Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Michael Meade. “He is – and here’s the magic word – inclusive! I have faith in him to make sure the College shines like a star.”

During his first few months at HFC, Kavalhuna embarked on a Listening Tour, a series of conversations with members of the College community about HFC’s strengths and challenges. Building on those strengths and addressing those challenges will be among his hallmarks as a leader.

“I am committed to having a productive discourse,” said Kavalhuna. “We will not always agree on the solutions, but your voice will be heard. We must speak up for what we believe in and advocate for the best solutions that will benefit our students and our community.”

By working together in effective ways, Kavalhuna believes that HFC can be more than just a successful educational institution in Southeast Michigan, but a gem – a beacon and a model – for high-quality education in Michigan and throughout the United States.

“Let’s attack problems together,” he said. “Nothing can hold us back but ourselves.”