I would like to announce that I have appointed Mary Ann Ryan, executive director for campus life, to serve as interim vice president for student affairs effective Monday, Aug. 9. Greg Roberts, vice president for student affairs, has accepted a new position as executive director of the American College Personnel Association.  (See previous story in Bulletin Today.)

Ryan will provide leadership and administration of the Student Affairs division while a national search for a new vice president is conducted. As interim vice president, she will also serve as a member of the President’s Staff and the Executive Vice President’s Cabinet.

Ryan received a B.A. in English from Quincy University, an M.S. in college student personnel administration from Western Illinois University, and currently is a student in the doctorate in educational leadership program at St. Thomas. She served for seven years as the director of university housing and residential life at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus and has held a variety of positions in university housing and residential life at Central Missouri State University and in the University of Wisconsin system. In addition, she is a former president of UMR-ACUHO (Upper Midwest Region of the Association of College and University Housing Officers), a former instructor for the National Housing Training Institute of ACUHO-International, and a major speaker and consultant on residential communities and student leadership. Since coming to St. Thomas, Ryan has provided significant leadership to the Department of Campus Life, guiding the ongoing enhancement of services and programs following the Division of Student Affairs reorganization implemented in 2001.

Karen Lange, dean of student life, also will provide significant leadership along with Ryan. Since 1986 Lange has served the Division of Student Affairs and the University of St. Thomas with distinction in a variety of positions. After serving as associate dean of student life for seven years and interim dean of student life for one year, Lange was appointed dean of student life following a national search with a pool of highly competitive candidates. Her knowledge of and commitment to St. Thomas will assist Student Affairs during this time of transition. In addition, Lange will serve as vice chair of the vice president for student affairs search committee (see below).

Lange holds a B.A. in communications and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, an M.A. in guidance and counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and is also a certified mediator with the state of Minnesota.  She has a record of local, regional and national involvement in a number of professional associations, including the National Orientation Director’s Association, UMR-ACUHO, Association for Student Judicial Affairs, and the American College Personnel Association.

I am confident that the appointment of Mary Ann Ryan as interim vice president for student affairs and Karen Lange’s appointment as vice chair of the search committee for the vice president for student affairs will provide a high level of leadership and continuity for the Division of Student Affairs until a new vice president is appointed. Please join me in thanking both of them for their service and in supporting their efforts on behalf of the university.

Search to begin for vice president for student affairs
Preliminary steps in the search for the vice president for student affairs are underway. The position specification document will soon be finalized, and the position announcement will be public within the next few weeks.

It is my hope that the first round of interviews conducted by the search committee will take place early in the fall. This time frame would bring the position finalists to St. Thomas for more extensive interviews and open meetings during the middle of the fall semester, with an anticipated start date in January 2004.

Members of the vice president for student affairs search committee are:

  • Judith Dwyer, executive vice president, chair
  • Karen Lange, dean of student life, vice-chair
  • Bernie Brady, professor of theology and chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee
  • Sam Levy, vice president for information resources and technologies
  • Nancy McGrath, assistant to the executive vice president and director of diversity initiatives, secretary
  • Bill Raffield, associate dean, College of Business
  • Ty Stenzel, strength and conditioning coach, department of Athletics and adjunct faculty in Health and Human Performance
  • Jackie Willauer, undergraduate student and president of the All College Council
  • Miriam Williams, dean, School of Education
  • Nicole Zwieg, student, School of Law


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