William Kanine grew up like many young men, loving sports and dreaming that one day he might be a professional athlete.
Despite all of his success as a personal certified accountant, Kanine never dreamed he’d one day be chairman of Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees.
Kanine was elected to lead the governing body in December. He replaced former board chairman and trustee Brian Fannon, and served the position for the first time during Thursday’s board of trustees meeting.
“I was very honored and still am,” Kanine said on being appointed. “I told the nominating committee I was happy to serve in any capacity.”
Kanine, 55, is a native of Shepard and CMU alumnus. He majored in accounting during his time as a student at the university. He now resides in Petoskey with his family and is a certified public accountant at William R. Kanine P.C. Certified Public Accountants.
Among the many challenges that face CMU, specifically enrollment growth, Kanine said sharing success stories like his and others are key to bolstering a new student body – whether they show up as athletes or accountants.
“We have an obligation to get more CMU success stories out there,” Kanine said. “I’ve always appreciated everything I got from CMU.”
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Kanine to the board of trustees in 2011. Before that, Kanine served as chairman of the faculty and liaison committee, as well as the facilities and finances committee.
Throughout his time as a trustee, Kanine said he has labored to champion the reputation of CMU through thoughtful leadership and open communication between the board and the students, faculty and staff they serve.
“Everything in my life has been better because of my education,” he said. “The issues and challenges that we will face will require more communication and more listening.”
Other trustees, such as Tricia Keith, attest to Kanine’s love for his alma mater and his innate ability to promote discussion.
“(Kanine) makes sure he understands an issue before moving forward, and he always seeks innovative (approaches to those) solutions,” Keith said.
Keith was a member of the nominating committee for the chair position. She said she and others on the committee gave him the position because of his dedication to the university.
Aside from his affinity for CMU and his personable demeanor, Kanine’s background in finance has helped him wade the waters as a public official.
Blain Russell, former president, CEO and current trustee at Alden State Bank, has been a client of Kanine’s for nearly 30 years.
In the time that he’s known him, Russell said Kanine has always been on top of his game when it comes to finance, even when Kanine was fresh out of college.
“If he didn’t know an answer, he would find it and explain it to you in layman’s terms,” Russell said. “He is an expert in his field because he puts in the time. He’s really good at putting people at ease so that they aren’t so uptight about things.”
Kanine’s mother, Karen, said her son was a late bloomer to finance. She said his interest in finance was spurred in his senior year of high school when he was introduced to it through bookkeeping and accounting.