CAS dean Bill Tolman.

Announcing the New Dean of CAS

Executive Vice President and Provost Eddy Rojas shared the following in email to the University of St. Thomas community on April 7, 2022.

I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting news about our open dean positions – so it makes me very happy to share that we have completed the first of our three searches.

I am very pleased to report that Dr. William “Bill” Tolman has accepted our offer to become St. Thomas’ next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Tolman brings a wealth of experience from a variety of administrative roles at both Washington University in St. Louis, as well as the University of Minnesota, where he was a longtime chemistry professor and department chair. You can read more details about his background on the Newsroom.

Anyone who attended or watched Dr. Tolman’s town hall last month will remember that his passion for experiential learning is rooted in his deep chemistry background. He is a champion for the liberal arts, has a strong track record for lifting faculty voices and has demonstrated great appreciation for the different needs of the areas that comprise the college.

Additionally, Dr. Tolman’s strong belief in interdisciplinary approaches make him the ideal person to lead the college into a new era as we continue advancing our St. Thomas 2025 strategic plan. When the Schoenecker Center opens in 2024, for example, it will bring interdisciplinary education to life – and the College of Arts and Sciences will play a leading role.

Just as critical as his scholarship and research background, Dr. Tolman’s convictions and values make him a strong fit within our St. Thomas community. His background demonstrates an ability to build and contribute to an inclusive and equitable culture that celebrates the contributions of all.

Dr. Tolman’s energy, vision, communication style and love for students will serve him well in the position of dean. We are excited to have him join our team of deans and contribute his gifts to our community. I extend my gratitude to our search committee for their many hours of hard work to guide this process, which is culminating in the selection of an outstanding candidate. I wish to give special thanks to the committee co-chairs: Associate Professor Olga Herrera of the English Department, as well as School of Engineering Dean Don Weinkauf.

I also ask you all to join me in thanking Dr. Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell for an outstanding job serving as interim dean for the past two years. His steady leadership helped to carry the college forward during a very challenging time in our university’s history. Dr. Stansbury-O’Donnell’s efforts also leave a lasting impact on St. Thomas as a whole; his work to help shape CAS’ strategic plan is reflected in St. Thomas 2025, especially its focus on hands-on learning, collaboration and mentoring. This guidance has helped further solidify an already strong liberal arts foundation for students across the university.

Finally, remember that we are not done yet – please be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more news about our other dean searches. This is truly an exciting time for St. Thomas.