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Dr. Kent MacDonald is a highly regarded leader in the higher education sector.
Since 2019, Dr. MacDonald has successfully led the University through incredible challenges, including keeping the University open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the institution’s financial strength and rebuilding much of the campus after devastating flooding that took place because of the local dam failures. He remains committed to further enhancing Northwood’s welcoming community culture for all those who believe in The Northwood Idea.
Dr. MacDonald came to Northwood University from St. Francis Xavier University (StFX), one of Canada’s oldest and most respected universities, where he served as president and vice-chancellor. Before his term at StFX, Dr. MacDonald served as president of Algonquin College, one of Canada’s largest and most innovative colleges and the country’s leader in the integration of technology into the learning landscape.
Kent brings a quarter century of higher education leadership experience to Northwood. In addition to his two previous presidential appointments, he has served as academic vice president, vice president of student services, dean of the school of business, and as a full, tenured professor. With this range of expertise, Kent is well prepared to support the Northwood staff in various operational areas, including strategic enrollment management, finance, information communication technologies, student athletics, residence operations, and areas related to student services.
Dr. MacDonald has many years of experience in private fundraising and philanthropic outreach. While at StFX, he launched a $50 million endowment to enhance access and affordability for students and oversaw the completion of a $100 million campaign to create an academic research center.
Dr. MacDonald earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario) and his Master of Education (MEd) degree from StFX University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia). He is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), where his doctoral research focused on high-performing colleges and presidential leadership. Dr. MacDonald’s research interest relates to the higher education sector and effective leadership. In this regard, he has addressed audiences worldwide, including Europe, Southeast and Central Asia, Latin America, Middle East.
Dr. MacDonald is married to Dr. Mary-Ellen MacPhee, a lifelong educator. She is an experienced school principal with a focus on student success and inclusion. They met over thirty years ago as undergraduate students in Nova Scotia and have since lived in New Zealand, Ontario, and Michigan. They have four children (Adam, Matthew, Meagan, and Patrick) who reside in Michigan and various parts of Canada.