Seven Forums This Week ask Campus Community About Qualities Needed in Next UST President

Five forums will be held today, Monday, May 14, and two will be held Thursday, May 17,  for St. Thomas faculty, staff and students to express their opinions on qualities they seek in the president who will succeed Father Dennis Dease next year.

Dease announced Thursday that he will retire on June 30, 2013, upon the completion of his 22nd year in office.

Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm based in Oak Brook, Ill., will assist St. Thomas with the search for the next president and will lead the forums next week. The firm seeks input on the following questions:

  • What is unique and distinctive about St. Thomas?
  • What are the top five items for the next president to address?
  • What qualities, qualifications and experiences would it take for the next president to successfully address these items?

Here is the forum schedule:

Monday, May 14

Faculty forums: 8:30-9:30 a.m., 120 Schulze Hall in Minneapolis, with simulcast in 150 Owens Science Hall in St. Paul; and 1-2 p.m. in 150 Owens Science Hall, with simulcast in 120 Schulze Hall.

Staff forums: 10-11 a.m., 120 Schulze Hall, with simulcast in 150 Owens Science Hall; and 2:30-3:30 p.m., 150 Owens Science Hall, with simulcast in 120 Schulze Hall.

Student forum: Noon-12:45 p.m., Schoenecker Arena. Pizza will be served.

Thursday, May 17

Staff forum: 1-2 p.m., OEC auditorium.

Faculty forum: 2:30-3:30 p.m., OEC auditorium.

Individuals unable to attend a forum can email their answers to the questions directly to Witt/Kieffer at

John M. Morrison, a member of the Board of Trustees, will chair the search committee for Dease’s successor. The committee of nine trustees, three faculty members and one member of the administrative staff will be appointed by early June. Sara Gross Methner, general counsel and chief human resources officer, will serve as staff to the search committee.

St. Thomas’ bylaws and the Board of Trustees govern the membership of a presidential search committee. In recognition of the university’s principles of shared governance, the search committee chair will appoint the three faculty members in consultation with the Faculty Affairs Committee, which will communicate with faculty about the process by which faculty will be selected.

The university’s bylaws allow only a Roman Catholic – priest, religious or lay person – to serve as president. All 14 presidents of St. Thomas have been priests.