Audra Kooi – Staff Writer
After ten years of working at Dordt University, Vice President of Operations Howard Wilson recently announced his plan to retire this summer.
Before coming to Dordt in 2013, Wilson was the President of Ambrose University in Calgary, AB, Canada, and he has been working in higher Christian education since 1986. In that time, he has worked at five different institutions in various positions.
Wilson was originally hired to work at Dordt as the Vice President of Enrollment, a field he had previous experience working in. Four years later, the Vice President of Operations position opened, and Wilson filled the role where he has been serving ever since.
But what does the Vice President of Operations of a university do?
“There rarely is a typical day,” Wilson said. “My basic job description has been keeping the doors open and the lights on so that education can take place.”
Wilson manages auxiliary services, purchasing, mail services, facilities and services, and student employment. With this lineup, consistency is minimal; people bring up new challenges and questions daily. He has also been involved with a vast number of projects throughout his career including the nursing wing, theatre building, the Covenant Hall expansion, and updates to the Agriculture Stewardship Center.
“One of the things I enjoyed very much was leading the team that developed the concept of the Pro-Tech programs,” Wilson said.
His positions at previous institutions involved more interaction with students, and Wilson has particularly enjoyed the projects that closely pertain to students and their day-to-day lives. He likes to see the facilities being used and appreciated by the student body.
Due to the great width of the position, President Erik Hoekstra and his team have a challenge ahead of them to find someone to fill the role. The hiring process has begun, but no candidates have been announced thus far.
“We’re looking for someone who knows what it means to be a good steward,” Hoekstra said. “It’s a big responsibility, and it’s not just a construction job.”
Wilson echoed a similar sentiment of the importance of the job in his words of advice to Dordt’s next Vice President of Operations.
“Always remember the purpose of what we’re doing, and that is that we’re here to serve students,” Wilson said. “Students are not an inconvenience or an interruption.”
The Dordt community will miss Wilson, but he plans to stay in Sioux Center. Wilson looks forward to spending time riding his bike, hanging out with his grandkids, and exploring historical landmarks in Canada.