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Yes, you can go home again

When Craig Kinsella moved to Detroit Lakes from Norfolk, Neb., eight years ago, to become the dean of academic and student services at what was then Northwest Technical College (now Minnesota State Community & Technical College-Detroit Lakes), he didn't expect that he'd be heading back there to finish out his academic career.

Kinsella, who officially left his position at MSCTC-DL July 1, is in the process of moving to a new home in Norfolk, and selling his home in DL. This fall, he will become the new director of continuing education at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. -- about a half-hour commute from Norfolk.

So why did he go back? For one thing, Norfolk is his hometown.

"I grew up in Norfolk, and graduated from high school there," he said.

Then, after completing his education, he went back to Norfolk and spent 16 years teaching management and marketing at Northeast Community College, from 1988-96. He obtained a doctorate in higher education administration in 1994, and from 1996-98, worked as a college administrator in Iowa before accepting a position at Detroit Lakes.

"My first three years here, I was always talking about my hometown (Norfolk)," he said, "but this is home now... leaving is bittersweet."

During his eight years in Detroit Lakes, Kinsella has been involved in Rotary Club; served on the Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club board for seven years; and been involved in a youth mentoring program through Lakes Crisis & Resource Center.

Kinsella said returning to Norfolk wasn't originally in his plans when he tendered his resignation from MSCTC in March.

"I resigned with the intention of going overseas to work as a teacher and small business consultant at a university or technical institute in a developing country," he said. "I just thought it was time to do something to reduce my workload and amount of (on-the-job) stress. But that (overseas job) didn't work out, so I started looking for something else, and this job opened up."

Though he and MSCTC-DL Campus Provost Bill Leff left on the same day, Kinsella said, it was entirely a coincidence. Leff hadn't given him any prior indication that he was planning to retire.

"It wasn't planned," he said.

Since accepting the position at Wayne State, Kinsella has been back to Norfolk a couple of times. "It felt good to go home," he said. Still, he added, "I've worked with so many wonderful people. It's bittersweet, leaving here."

But he won't have too much time to miss DL, Kinsella added.

"One of the exciting things about this job is that in November, they will be sending me to Greece for 10 days," he said. "When they told me that, I said, 'A guy's got to do what a guy's got to do.'"

All in all, Kinsella said, he's pretty glad to be going back home again.

"I haven't worked in a four-year college before," he said. "It's going to be a little different, but I think I'll be fine. I'm optimistic."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454