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Unsung Hero: Patrick Kessel, Interlochen Center for the Arts

By Net Assets posted 09-13-2019 01:27 PM

Patrick Kessel

Leadership |

A champion for positive growth, Kessel managed sweeping campus renovations and construction projects that helped his school realize its vision.

The Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award is given to business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools and exemplify exceptional integrity, knowledge and motivation. At the end of each school year, new Unsung Heroes receive their award from their head of school, often at a significant school occasion such as a board meeting or an all-school ceremony. What makes these Unsung Heroes so special? The highlights below come straight from their colleagues' nominations. 

See a full list of the 2019 recipients. Stay tuned to for additional profiles.

Title: Vice President of Finance and Operations

School: Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Michigan

Years in position: 13

Years in an independent school business office: 27

Superpower: Grounds guru. “Pat has quietly and ably transformed the entire infrastructure of our 1,200-acre campus, paving the way for future generations to learn and grow through arts education.” He has spearheaded projects for a fitness center, greenhouse and community garden, music center, cafeteria, campus safety building and redevelopment projects. “He is a true asset to the institution, and if he were one for wearing capes, we might just call him Interlochen’s superhero.”

Strategic vision: Kessel’s “financial aid oversight has helped make it possible for thousands of students to live out their dreams of coming to Interlochen, where he has [also] strengthened the institution by partnering with faculty to bring forward innovative and important programming.”

Thoughtful leader: “An open, honest and encouraging mentor, Pat embraces collaboration and believes in raising others up for positive change. His attentive listening style, his perseverance and his unfailing positivity are enjoyed by all employees at Interlochen — whether they report to him or not.”

Memory for mission: Kessel’s long tenure at Interlochen informs his ability to reflect the school’s culture and mission through its policy and practices. “In today’s dynamic world, it’s hard to find someone who has been with an organization for 27 years, continually providing important insight and vision to help grow that organization to where it is today.”

See a full list of the 2019 recipients and read more about the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award. will post additional profiles of Unsung Heroes throughout the fall — check in to learn more about other recipients. 

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