Dr. John Avendano became the sixth—and current—president at Kankakee Community College on July 1, 2009. In all, he has more than 32 years of community college experience.
Avendano was a first-generation college student for whom English is his second language. He received an associate degree from Waubonsee Community College, a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in adult continuing education from Northern Illinois University, and a doctorate in educational administration and foundations from Illinois State University.
Avendano is a member, and past president, of the Illinois Council of Public Community College Presidents. He also is the past chair of the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium President’s Council. He currently serves as a board member and past chair for the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County; and he is a board member of the Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board, Cornerstone Services and Riverside Medical Center. Recently, he finished his sixth year as the presidents’ liaison for the Illinois region of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. In 2014-15, Avendano served as co-chair for the United Way of Kankakee County campaign. He also formerly served on the Pioneering Healthier Communities Advisory Committee for the Kankakee Area YMCA.
Waubonsee Community College named Avendano one of its 40th Anniversary Fab 40, a Distinguished Alumni Award winner, and inducted him into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He has been recognized by Phi Theta Kappa honor society with the Distinguished Administrator Award and Shirley B. Gordon Award; and most recently, the Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. Avendano is a member of Illinois State University’s Educational Administration and Foundations Hall of Fame and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Athletic Hall of Fame. He received the 2017-18 Illinois Community College Trustees’ Association Advocacy Award and The Daily Journal 2019 Citizen of the Year award.
Along with his wife of 30 years, Janet, the Avendanos have three children—Michael, Nicole and Marissa.