Cornille heading to Heartland

Senior vice president shares memories from past 18 years at Madison College


Photo Provided to the Clarion

Keith Cornille is the seventh from the left, and is pictured with the Student Activities Board.

Jessica Deegan, News Editor

After working at Madison College for nearly 18 years, Dr. Keith Cornille will soon start a new chapter of life as the president of Heartland Community College in Illinois.

Although his transition will be hard, Cornille looks forward to living closer to his father and getting to see his brothers and sisters more frequently.

Cornille’s last day as senior vice president of Student Development and Success at Madison College will be on June 8. He will then begin his new position in Illinois a short month later.

“It’s an opportunity to move a college that’s already in a really good place, to greatness, and it reminds me of when I came here 18 years ago, and it was a great college, but how can you contribute to making it an even better place for students and for the community, and I think we were able to do that here, or at least I hope we did, and I think that we can do the same thing there. So that’s an exciting idea,” said Cornille.

After pondering on the thought of moving to a new city and creating a new career, Cornille’s deciding factor for accepting this new journey was because of his desire to help as many people and students as he possibly can.

“I think you work in your career for different things, and one of mine has been to try and position myself in a way that helps the most people,” he said. “And in order to do that, you almost have to get to the presidential level, so it is kind of that career aspiration and that desire to really work with and help other people that lead me to this point. It’s going to be extremely hard… you make so many friends and work with so many great people, it’s hard to leave that, because all of those people and all of their hard work is really why I have this opportunity.”

Cornille looks into the distance and grins while thinking of all of the memories he has partaken in at Madison College.

“There are just so many moments, but I’ll never forget the day when we first opened up the gateway when the construction was completed, and just watching the students come in and seeing their sense of pride in their new space, that was really cool,” Cornille said.

The students have been Cornille’s focus from the beginning, as he was always thinking of what else he could do to change their lives and school experiences for the better.

“During the time that I have known Keith, he has always been a big advocate for students and for student growth both inside and outside of the classroom. He’s one to really recognize the fact that students do best when they are challenged, but supported. And he really does his best to make sure those opportunities are available for them,” said Doug Kirchberg, a senior program coordinator in Student Life and friend of Cornille’s.

Cornille reflected on the last 18 years and thought of two things in particular that stand out – the new and improved facilities and student engagement that has immensely increased over that period of time.
“We’ve had such fabulous students here over the years and they have gone on to do great things. I am proud of them,” smiled Cornille.

Throughout his years at Madison College, Cornille created many great relationships between himself, and the students, staff and faculty.

He expresses his gratitude for being able to have this chapter of his life at Madison College, and leaves us all with one final message, “We’re given one thing in our lives that either shines or is tarnished by our own actions, and that’s our integrity. I hope that everyone remembers that, and lives a life of integrity…I hope this for everyone and that it always shines brightly for them.”