Lori Gonko

2023-24 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Dr. Lori Gonko has over twenty years of experience in the community college sector. She currently serves as the Vice President of Strategy & Human Resources at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan where she provides vision and leadership in the areas of institutional research and effectiveness, strategic and operational planning, institutional accreditation, and human resources. Her recent work focuses on implementation of HFC’s strategic plan entirely focused on student success and closing equity gaps.

She has served in many roles throughout her career, proudly beginning as an administrative assistant at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. This frontline staff role turned into more than a decade of various positions and experiences at MCC, including supervisory roles and grant management. She transitioned to Henry Ford College in 2012 where she initially supported college-wide program review efforts and coordinated grant funding for Career and Technical Education programs. Gonko credits her diverse employment experiences for her collaborative and inclusive approach to leadership today, believing that employees from all areas and levels of the organization have a marked impact on student success and the student experience.

Gonko also teaches as an adjunct for Ferris State University’s Doctorate in Community College Leadership (DCCL) program. She enjoys working with emerging leaders and often serves as a mentor, dissertation chair, and dissertation committee member for DCCL students.

Her own educational journey began at Macomb Community College before earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Oakland University. She also holds a doctorate in community college leadership from Ferris State University.