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Western Iowa College President To Retire In 2021

Katie Peikes
Morningside College President John Reynders announced he plans to retire in 2021, saying it seems like the "right moment" to step down.

The longest-serving president of a western Iowa college announced Tuesday that he plans to retire next year. 
John Reynders has served as the president of Morningside College in Sioux City since 1999. During a Tuesday news conference, he said the time is right to step down.

“This decision certainly wasn’t easy,” Reynders said. “My tenure at Morningside has been the best 21 years of my professional life.”

He added that the college and Sioux City have been “a wonderful home” for him and his wife, Robin. “The two of us love Sioux City,” he said.

Reynders came to Morningside College at a time when enrollment was declining and facilities were outdated. Now, Morningside is getting ready to launch a fundraising campaign on the heels of a successful $50 million effort that raised more money for facility improvements than planned. Reynders said this next campaign will be a 7- to 10-year commitment, one that’s too long for him and “wouldn’t be fair” to his wife or the college.

“So this just seems like the right moment to make this kind of move for Morningside’s future and for our future as well,” Reynders said.

Reynders said he and his wife plan to move to Punta Gorda, Fla. after he steps down on June 30, 2021. “I feel strongly that I’ve got to give the new president space,” he said.

The Sioux City college will launch a national search for its 13th president. Morningside College Board of Directors Chairman Craig Struve said the board expects to review recommendations made by a search committee in late winter or early spring 2021.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.