ADRIAN, Mich. — Adrian College will present its graduates of the class of 2019 during its Winter Commencement at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, in Herrick Chapel, in the heart of the College’s campus.
In addition to awarding six graduate degrees and more than 40 undergraduate degrees, Jim Van Doren will also be recognized during the ceremony. Van Doren, Executive Director of the Lenawee Now, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Jim grew up in Adrian, Mich. and the Irish Hills. He attended Adrian High School and furthered his education at Western Michigan University. After finishing school, he immediately started working for Michigan International Speedway as an account manager for marketing and advertising. He resided on Evans Lake and volunteered for the Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Department for many years. Eventually, he became the youngest fire chief in Lenawee County at the age of 24. He continued his service with Sand Lake for over 33 years and became the longest serving Chief with 22 years at that position. For 12 years, he was also the President of the Lenawee County Fire Chief’s Association.
Jim left MIS after taking a production management position at a local manufacturer, K2 Incorporated. As a department Production Supervisor at the Adrian manufacturing facility, he quickly moved up in positions and at the age of 26 became the Plant Manager for K2’s Adrian plant, setting yet another historical record as the county’s youngest plant manager to date. After being promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, he was again promoted to Vice President and General Manager for one of K2’s $33 million business cells with plants in both Michigan and Florida. After these high accomplishments, he retired at the age of 54.
At the request of Lenawee County’s Republican Party, Jim ran for the newly redistricted County Commissioner position to which he was elected in 2000. He served the residents of Lenawee for 10 years with the last four of those years as Chairperson of the County Board of Commissioners.
Once again retiring when his term ended as Chairperson, in 2011 his friend and local business owner, Doug Kapnick, recruited Jim to the position of Executive Director of the Lenawee Economic Development Corporation, presently known as Lenawee Now. The two business executives formulated a pact where Doug would serve as Chairperson of the organization and Jim would be the Executive Director for just two years to get the organization back on its feet. They are still managing the organization nine years later.
Jim has been involved as a member of many of Lenawee County’s charitable organizations and dedicates much time and resources to those causes. In addition, Jim has served over 30 years and continues to serve as Vice President and Trustee of the philanthropic Sage Foundation.
Jim and his wife, Pamela McGahey Van Doren (’75), relish life together from their beautiful home in the Irish Hills. They enjoy entertaining, traveling, and gardening along with Jim being an avid hunter.
To learn more about Adrian College and the commencement ceremony, please contact the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at 264.3888.