Dr. Chris Puto, who retired as Opus College of Business dean last July, has been named president of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Puto, an alumnus of Spring Hill College and a former Spring Hill board member, will begin his presidency June 1.
During Puto’s tenure as dean from 2002-2014, the Full-time UST MBA program was launched; the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship opened; specialized master programs in real estate and accountancy were added; and the undergraduate business program and Evening UST MBA curricula were refined. As a result, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International accredited the college in 2010, two years ahead of schedule.
“My time at St. Thomas has been extremely rewarding," Puto said. "I will miss my many friends on the campus community and in the Twin Cities business community. The faculty, staff, students and alumni have bonded together to create a wonderful learning environment that is now recognized throughout the region and beyond. The Opus College is in great hands with our new dean. It seems as though I have been preparing for this next role all my life, and I look forward to being able to give back to the school that gave me the foundation for a rewarding career.”
The oldest Catholic college in the Southeast, Spring Hill has offered a liberal arts curriculum in the Jesuit tradition since its founding in 1830 and enrolls about 1,500 students. Puto will become the institution's 37th president.
Chairman of the Spring Hill College board of trustees Michael Coghlan said, “Spring Hill College is fortunate to have such an outstanding academic administrator lead us into the future. Dr. Puto has superb credentials as a business professional, educator and academic dean of two highly regarded business schools. Furthermore, as a Spring Hill alumnus, he exemplifies the mission of the college to form leaders in service to others."
Puto is the sixth St. Thomas administrator in the past 13 years to become president of a college or university. Tom Mengler, J.D., began his presidency at St. Mary’s in Texas in 2012 after serving as dean of the UST School of Law for 10 years. Dr. Noreen Carrocci, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has served, since 2007, as the first laywoman president at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. Former executive vice president and chief academic officer Dr. Tom Rochon has served as president of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, since 2008. Dr. Judith Dwyer, former executive vice president, served as president of Saint Xavier University in Chicago from 2003-2009. Dr. Ted Fredrickson, former business dean, was president of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, from 2002-2006.