While it takes cooperation to accomplish anything, it would be hard to overstate President Dan Kinney’s impact on Iowa Western Community College.
Kinney plans to retire on Aug. 31, the college announced Monday, Jan. 6. However, he is willing to stay longer, if needed, he said.
During Kinney’s 25 ½ years at Iowa Western — almost half of its history — his influence has been felt across the college’s multiple campuses and in the communities it serves. Two dozen facilities have been built or purchased, enrollment has increased and new athletic teams have been created.
Under Kinney’s guidance, the college has invested more than $178 million in new construction and renovation projects at the main campus in Council Bluffs and at centers in Clarinda, Shenandoah, Harlan and Atlantic, according to a press release from Iowa Western. He also generated regional attention for the college with his efforts in the planning and construction of the new Robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Center, which the board named Kinney Hall in 2015, and the Center for Advanced Nursing and Allied Health Education.
Kinney said another one of the highlights of his presidency was the dedication of the Arts Center in 2001.
“It was great to have that facility,” he said. “When I came, the arts and music were scattered all over the campus. That facility allowed us to pull them together in one place.”
The clock tower that has become a familiar landmark on the Council Bluffs Campus was designed and built by students in 1996.
The landscape of the Council Bluffs Campus has changed dramatically, noted Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh.
“I think during his presidency he has physically transformed the entire look of the college — added new buildings, added housing facilities — and really created a college life for students out there,” he said. “Rather than a commuter college, he’s made it more of a residential college.”
Enrollment figures weren’t available from Kinney’s earliest years at the college, but total enrollment grew from 4,600 students in fall 2004 to 6,114 in fall 2009, according to Nonpareil reports. Enrollment leveled off to 6,047 by fall of 2019. Kinney helped raise awareness and funds for the college, pushing the Iowa Western Foundation’s assets from $347,000 in 1994 to $33.7 million today – almost a hundredfold increase.
“One of the things I’m most proud about is the foundation and the growth in the foundation’s assets we’ve been able to accomplish, because that is critical in keeping education affordable for students,” he said.
Affordability is important, Walsh said.
“Iowa Western Community College provides affordable college to local residents who, in many cases, want to live and work in the metro area,” he said.