Dallas County Community College District
Throughout a career that spans four decades, Bill Wenrich has led by example, acted with commitment, and dedicated his talents to serving students, community colleges and a new generation of leaders.
Wenrich began his career in education in 1968 at the College of San Mateo as assistant to President Bob Ewigleben shortly after a riot broke out on campus. He helped to design and implement a plan to get the college back on track, and six years later returned to the San Mateo Community College District as president of Canada College.
During nearly 40 years of higher education leadership, Wenrich served as president of Ferris State University (Michigan) and Santa Ana College (California), and as chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (1979-1984) and the San Diego Community College District (1988-1990).
In 1990, he became chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), Texas' largest undergraduate institution. The district expanded rapidly under his leadership, including the establishment of a business development institute and the development of an advanced telecommunications center. He initiated the innovative Rising Star program, which guarantees a full scholarship to all Dallas County high school students who graduate with a "B" average and demonstrate economic need. To date, more than 9,000 predominately minority students have received scholarships, drawing on a $24 million endowment that Wenrich helped to raise. He also initiated the Undocumented Student Initiative, which spread to other colleges throughout the state and has served more than 6,000 undocumented students.
Wenrich retired as chancellor emeritus of the DCCCD in 2003, but he has not retired from his service to community colleges. He is currently involved with Achieving the Dream, a national, multi-year initiative aimed at helping more community college students succeed, with a particular focus on underrepresented populations. He also serves on the national advisory committee for AACC's Plus 50 Initiative, a three-year effort aimed at expanding community college engagement of older learners. In addition, he helps identify community college leaders as Fellows in the American Council on Education's leadership program.
Other future leaders have benefited from Wenrich's dedication. He helped to launch and currently serves on the executive committee of the Bill J. Priest Center of the University of North Texas, a center devoted to strengthening regional community college leadership study at the graduate level. Additionally, he serves as a presenter and moderator for the League for Innovation in the Community College's Executive Leadership Institute and has helped prepare over 1,000 community college leaders during his career.
Wenrich has consulted on, written and published more than 20 books and articles regarding key community college issues. He is the former board chair for the League for Innovation in the Community College, a former board member of the American Council on Education, and a past president for the Texas Association of Community Colleges. Wenrich received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Arts and doctorate from the University of Michigan.