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Release Date: 
Friday, July 8, 2022

Yahrmatter takes over as SOLA interim dean; Smyrski returns to the classroom

Robert Yahrmatter new Interim Dean of SOLA, effective August 1, 2022.
Robert Yahrmatter takes over as SOLA interim dean on August 1.

Effective Monday, August 1, Robert Yahrmatter will become the Interim Dean of the HFC School of Liberal Arts (SOLA).

“I'm honored to take on this very important role and will do my best to fulfill its various functions,” said Yahrmatter, of Dearborn. “I look forward to continuing my work to grow and enhance both SOLA and HFC.”

Larry Smyrski returns to the classroom

Yahrmatter, who is currently the Associate Dean of SOLA, will replace Larry Smyrski, who has served as Interm Dean of SOLA since January 2021 when the inaugural Dean of SOLA Dr. Jennifer Ernst left HFC in late 2020. Smyrski will return to his passion in the classroom to teach mathematics.

HFC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Nealon praised Smyrski’s efforts.

“I cannot thank Larry Smyrski enough for the remarkable work that he has done, providing leadership, vision, and administrative support for SOLA, its diverse programs, faculty, and students,” said Nealon. “During a time marked by such uncertainty and constant change, when many other leaders might simply have settled for maintaining the status quo, Larry instead went about the quiet but determined work of fostering collaboration, consensus, creativity, continuous improvement, and unwavering commitments to student success and academic excellence. He has been the ‘gentle giant’ on the Academic Affairs Leadership team. I know that his students and colleagues will benefit equally from his ‘homecoming’ to the Math Department at HFC!”

A lifelong Downriver resident, Smyrski is a higher education veteran of more than 30 years. He has worked at the College since 1993. No stranger to administration, Smyrski served as the Interim Associate Dean of Mathematics in 1999 and as the Associate Dean of Mathematics from 2005-13.

"Serving as the interim dean of SOLA has been an exciting adventure for me," said Smyrski. "I have gotten to know better the programs and courses within SOLA and am excited to see how they serve important needs of our students and the community. Faculty, staff, and students have accomplished much in these unique times, and I look forward to seeing -- from just a building away -- what comes next."

Yahrmatter: from day trader to higher ed

In the 1980s, Yahrmatter worked as a position trader/order processor for NASDAQ. He also worked in supply chain management for a construction supply company from 1992-2002 while attending HFC (then called Henry Ford Community College).

Yahrmatter earned his associate degree in liberal arts from HFC in 2003 before transferring to Wayne State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in political science. He later earned his master’s degree in political science with a concentration in American government, also from Wayne State.

In 2006, Yahrmatter began his teaching career at HFC as an adjunct instructor. He was hired on as a full-time faculty member in 2015 and has been active in HFC governance. He also served as the Faculty Chair of the Social Science Department at HFC before his colleagues elected him as the Associate Dean in 2020. In his position as Interim Dean, Yahrmatter will report to Nealon.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Robert these past 18 months, and I am very happy that he will be stepping in the role of Interim Dean of SOLA,” said Smyrski. "He knows and cares deeply about SOLA, its students, faculty, and programs. SOLA remains in good and capable hands.”

Added Nealon: “It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to witness Robert Yahrmatter’s continued growth and success as Associate Dean of SOLA and as a valued member of the Academic Affairs Leadership team. His understanding of, dedication to, and advocacy for the numerous academic programs housed in SOLA have been as exceptional as they have been effective. I am very excited to support him in his new role as Interim Dean and look forward to the many ways that Robert and his SOLA colleagues may assist HFC in the implementation of its new Strategic Plan.”

The College will announce plans for the permanent SOLA dean after a national search has been successfully completed.