John Avendano announces upcoming retirement

John Avendano announces upcoming retirement

Posted On: 09/12/18

Kankakee Community College’s president, Dr. John Avendano, has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2019.

Avendano became KCC’s sixth president on July 1, 2009. During his time at KCC, he led the college through an unprecedented state budget impasse for two years, added new academic programs, successfully implemented two strategic plans, and opened campus facilities. KCC also celebrated two national championships and the college’s 50th anniversary during Avendano’s tenure.

“It has truly been a privilege serving this college and representing KCC in the community,” said Avendano. “I am most proud of the state-wide and national recognition given to our faculty, staff and programs. I am also proud of the significant role KCC has played in providing the workforce for our community.”

During the state budget impasse, Avendano fought for Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) funding for students, appropriations for community colleges, and represented KCC and Illinois Community Colleges to legislators in Springfield.

On campus, outcomes from the college’s strategic plans included creating paths to employment with new programs like Millwright and Manufacturing Technology and establishing an apprenticeship program with companies, including CSL Behring. The college also redesigned foundational coursework and strengthened collaborations with area school districts, business and industry with college credit and corporate training initiatives.

KCC expanded its access for the community under Avendano’s guidance. The college established the Miner South Extension Center in Watseka (2013), and the Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center in Kankakee (2014). KCC’s North Extension Center in Bradley, which opened in 2014, became Kankakee County’s first LEED Gold Certified building. Now under construction, the Advanced Technology Education Center on the Riverfront Campus is also designed to meet LEED Gold standards. It opens later this year. KCC consistently earned recognition for its sustainability program, and this year was named No. 2 in North America for Sustainability performance by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Avendano serves on boards for state and community organizations, including the Illinois Community College Council of Presidents, the Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board, Riverside Medical Center Board of Directors, and Economic Alliance of Kankakee County where he served as chairman of the board for the past two years.

A former community college baseball player and coach, Avendano is proud of the KCC Cavaliers accomplishments on the regional and national levels. The Cavaliers baseball and softball teams both won national titles in 2017 and 2015 respectively, and in the past nine years, KCC’s athletic teams have won 22 regional titles and recognized 30 All-Americans and 44 Academic All-Americans.

“KCC accomplished more in 10 years with Dr. Avendano’s leadership than in other 10 year period in the college’s history,” said Jerry Hoekstra, chairman of the KCC board of trustees. “He is tremendously committed to our community, and his absence will leave a void in the many organizations he helped lead.”

Dr. John Avendano Community involvement/awards

2006 - Named to Waubonsee Community College’s “Fab 40” Alumni in conjunction with the college’s 40th anniversary

2009-present - Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board member

2012 - Waubonsee Community College Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

2013 - Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award for Distinction

2014 - Illinois State University College of Education Hall of Fame

2009-present - Riverside Medical Center Board of Directors

2012-present - Economic Alliance of Kankakee County; chair of the board of directors, 2017-2019

2017-18 - Illinois Council of Community College Presidents, president

2018 - Illinois Community College Trustees Association Advocacy Award

2018 - Skyway Conference Hall of Fame Induction


Kankakee Community College is an accredited two-year college which awards associate degrees and certificates of completion. KCC prepares students both to transfer to four-year colleges and to enter the workforce. The college also offers continuing education courses and certification training, literacy programs, English as a Second Language and GED preparation. The KCC mission is “Enhancing quality of life through learning.” The college has a Riverfront Campus in Kankakee, South Extension Center in Watseka, North Extension Center in Bradley and Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center in Kankakee.


More KCC news and photos are available at our Newsroom, and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Official college logos are available online.

Kari Nugent
Director of marketing and public relations