Board of Trustees

As a Michigan public community college, Southwestern Michigan College operates under the supervision of a locally-elected Board of Trustees.

The seven Board members serve six-year terms and represent a broad range of backgrounds and geographic locations within the college’s service area. Members of the Board serve their constituents without compensation.

Meet the Board Members

Thomas Jerdon

Thomas F. Jerdon, Chairman

Chairman Tom Jerdon is a third-generation real estate broker with Jerdon Real Estate of Silver Creek Township. He earned an SMC associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business. He became a trustee in 1991 and was elected chairman in 2015.


Keith McKenzie

Keith H. McKenzie, Vice Chairman

Keith McKenzie, who majored in agricultural economics at Michigan State University, joined the SMC board in 1987. The lifelong Cassopolis/Marcellus farmer is past president of the Michigan Livestock Exchange and the Michigan Pork Producers and served on the Michigan Agriculture Commission appointed by Gov. John Engler.


Beth Cripe

Beth J. Cripe, Secretary

Trustee Beth Cripe from Wayne Township earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Albion College and her master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2011 and has worked for Dowagiac’s Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in a development capacity since 2007.


Becky Moore

Becky Moore, Treasurer 

Treasurer Becky Moore, a trustee since 2012, currently serves as Cass County Finance Deputy Director. She attended Marcellus High School, then received an associate degree from SMC and a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University. She began her career in Kalamazoo in 1985 with Alexander Grant, then joined BDO Seidman. After several years of government audits, she became Lewis Cass Intermediate School District finance officer. She founded Accounting Consultants, PC, in Dowagiac in 1992 and now resides in rural Cassopolis.


Dr. Elaine Foster

Dr. Elaine Foster, Trustee

Dr. Elaine Foster is the dean of Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University. She holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Andrews University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Andrews University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan. In addition to serving with a number of national nursing organizations, Dr. Foster serves as the president for the Board of Trustees for the Cass County Council on Aging. She joined SMC's Board of Trustees in 2019.


Tracy Hertsel

Tracy D. Hertsel, Trustee

Tracy D. Hertsel is from Penn Township and is the director of Student Support Services for Niles Community Schools. He earned an SMC associate degree, a Western Michigan University bachelor of science degree and a Western Michigan University master of arts degree. He serves as the president of the Cass Family Clinic Network board. He has also been a volunteer fireman for over 35 years in Cass County. He joined SMC’s Board of Trustees in March of 2020.


William White

William M. White, Trustee

Secretary Bill White of Jones has been on SMC’s Board of Trustees since 1992. He studied agriculture at SMC and Michigan State University and farms with sons Jon and Andy. The Whites operate a farrow-to-finish hog operation, growing corn to feed livestock in southeastern Cass County.