Search Committee for Next St. Thomas President Named

A 13-member search committee for the next president of the University of St. Thomas has been named.

John M. Morrison, a member of the Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Opening Doors capital campaign, will chair the committee to recommend an individual to succeed Father Dennis Dease, who will retire June 30, 2013, after 22 years as president of St. Thomas.

The committee includes nine trustees, three faculty members and one administrative staff member. The Faculty Affairs Committee received more than 20 nominations of faculty to serve on the committee, assessed the nominees and recommended to Morrison the professors to serve on the committee. He accepted the recommendations.

The members are:

Michael Dougherty, chairman and chief executive officer of Dougherty Financial LLC. He is a 1966 St. Thomas alumnus, has served on the board since 2003 and will chair its Executive Committee for the next two years.

Tim Flynn, recently retired chairman of KPMG International. He is a 1979 alumnus and has been a board member since 2006. He recently became chair of the Executive Committee of the Opus College of Business Strategic Board of Governors.

Eugene Frey, chairman of Wabash Management Inc. and former chairman and chief executive officer of Waldorf Corp., known today as Rock-Tenn. He attended St. Thomas in 1948-49, joined the St. Thomas board in 1988 and co-chaired the Ever Press Forward capital campaign, which concluded in 2001 after raising $250 million.

James Gearen, president of Zeller Realty Corp. of Minneapolis. He is a 1983 St. Thomas alumnus and has served on the board since 2009. He also is a member of the St. Thomas Center for Catholic Studies Advisory Board.

Amy Goldman, chairman and executive director of the GHR Foundation and former chair of The Better Way Foundation. She joined the St. Thomas board in 2007.

Dr. Kenneth Goodpaster, holder of the Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics in the Opus College of Business. He has taught at St. Thomas since 1990.

Karen Lange, dean of students at St. Thomas. She has worked at the university since 1986 and worked in Residence Life and as associate dean of students before she was named dean in 2002. She also is a doctoral student at St. Thomas.

John M. Morrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Central Bank Group Inc. He joined the St. Thomas board in 1996, serves on the School of Law Board of Governors and is co-chair of the Opening Doors capital campaign.

The Honorable Diana Murphy, an U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals judge. She has been a St. Thomas trustee since 1991 and a founding member of the School of Law Board of Governors, which she formerly chaired. She previously served as a judge in Hennepin County and for the U.S. District Court of Minnesota.

Most Rev. Lee Piché, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a 1980 alumnus of St. Thomas and a 1984 alumnus of the St. Paul Seminary, taught philosophy at the university from 1994 to 1997 and has served on the board since 2008.

Dr. Brenda Powell, professor of English. She joined the faculty in 1984, was named Professor of the Year in 1999, was director of the Luann Dummer Center for Women from 1996 to 2000 and is a former chair of the faculty.

Elizabeth Schiltz, professor in the St. Thomas School of Law. She was a founding faculty member of the law school in 2001 and is co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. She also is a member of the St. Paul Seminary Board of Trustees.

Richard Schulze, founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of Best Buy. He joined the board in 1995 and also serves as chair of the Opus College of Business Strategic Board of Governors as well as co-chair of the Opening Doors capital campaign.

Sara Gross Methner, general counsel and chief human resources officer, is serving as staff to the search committee.

The committee held an organizational meeting last Thursday and over the next month will work with Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm based in Oak Brook, Ill., to determine and publish the position specification for the next president. The specification will reflect input gathered during May and June from faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and the archdiocese. Recruiting will commence after publication of the position specification.

Anyone can nominate an individual for the presidency at any time, although Gross Methner recommended that people wait until after the position specification is published in mid-July because they will have a clearer idea at that time about the qualities sought in the next president. All nominations will be treated confidentially, Gross Methner said.

The search process will intensify in the fall, and the committee has established a timeline with the objective of recommending a final candidate to the Board of Trustees in December. The timing best enables the university to remain competitive with other presidential searches around the country.

St. Thomas’ bylaws and the Board of Trustees govern the presidential search and selection process. 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.

Seven forums were held last month for faculty, staff and students to express their opinions on qualities they seek in the next president. Similar forums have been held this month for trustees, alumni board members and Next Generation Steering Committee members, and the Alumni Association has distributed an email survey seeking input. The forums and surveys ask three essential 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?

Individuals who were unable to attend a forum can email their answers to the questions directly to Witt/Kieffer at All input is compiled by Witt/Kieffer without attribution and is treated confidentially.