You will see a familiar face around the first floor of Aquinas Hall for the next year. Charlie Keffer, who served as dean of the college, academic vice president and provost for 25 years, has agreed to come out of retirement for a year to help me launch the administrative side of our new structure at St. Thomas. He starts work this week as executive assistant.

There are a number of pretty dense and complicated operational issues that will challenge us in the year ahead and, at the same time, our trustees are considering the possibility of approving another capital campaign in the near future. I know this first year of the reorganization (at least for me) will be different than any other for those reasons. My guess is that Charlie will be a real key in helping us through this important time; in getting the capital campaign ship out of the harbor (if that is what results); and at the same time, I’ll be learning from a real pro and a respected part of St. Thomas’ impressive history.

Dr. Charlie Keffer

I have tremendous respect for Charlie, that’s for sure. But, I didn’t ask Charlie to come back for this year to do my job. I asked him to help with some of the heavy lifting the year will present and to bestow some of the wisdom I’ll need to acquire to do what Fr. Dease wants me to do in the future.

I hope you will take the time to welcome Charlie back … I am grateful he interrupted his well-earned retirement to assist us in this way … he certainly didn’t need to. I also hope you will help both of us gain some more familiarity with the administrative challenges facing us at St. Thomas. They aren’t the same as they were when Charlie was here before or when I worked at St. Thomas before returning to Institutional Advancement.

St. Thomas is like a growing organism. It needs to grow and respond to its changing environment or it will begin to die. Recapturing a past that doesn’t fit the challenges of today is nobody’s goal. I believe, and I know Charlie does too, that St. Thomas has a bright future ahead. Let’s enjoy that together.


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