Dr. John Avendano

Ph.D., president and CEO, Kankakee Community College, Kankakee, Illinois 


Dr. John Avendano began as a community college president in 2009 as the sixth and current president at Kankakee Community College. He has over 32 years of community college experience.  

Dr. Avendano was a first-generation college student for whom English is his second language.  He received his Associate’s degree from Waubonsee Community College, Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Northern Illinois University, Master’s degree in Adult Continuing Education from Northern Illinois University, and his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Foundations from Illinois State University.  

Dr. Avendano is a member, and past President, of the Illinois Council of Public Community College Presidents and is the past Chair of the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium President’s Council. He currently serves as a Board member and Chair for the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, the Grundy-Livingston-Kankakee Workforce Investment Board, Cornerstone Services and the Riverside Medical Center Board. In 2014-15, Dr. Avendano served as Co-Chair for The United Way of Kankakee County and formally served on the Pioneering Healthier Communities Advisory Committee for the area YMCA. He recently finished serving in his sixth year as the presidents’ liaison for the Illinois region of Phi Theta Kappa.

Dr. Avendano has received the following recognition and awards from Waubonsee Community College: Fab 40, Distinguished Alum, Induction into their Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Skyway Conference Hall of Fame. He has been recognized by Phi Theta Kappa with the following awards: Distinguished Administrator, Shirley B. Gordon Award, and the 2019 Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Dr. Avendano was inducted into Illinois State University’s Educational Administration and Foundations Hall of Fame. He has also received the 2017-18 Illinois Community College Trustees’ Association Advocacy Award. Lastly, The Daily Journal recognized Dr. Avendano as its 2019 Citizen of the Year.

He and his wife Janet of 30 years have three children - Michael, Nicole and Marissa.

Curriculum Vitae
Letter of Interest