Minnesota’s largest private university has officially opened the national search for its next president. And when its 17th leader formally takes office on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue next year, the University of St. Thomas will be at a critical juncture in its nearly 140-year history.
With three schools and colleges having launched within the last five years (including Minnesota’s newest nursing school), a new state-of-the-art STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) complex set to open in 2024, and a growing emphasis on providing greater access to higher education, St. Thomas is poised to raise its national profile.
Finding a leader who can shepherd St. Thomas on its current growth trajectory to continue reaching its ambitious goals in its latest five-year strategic plan is a top priority for the Presidential Search Committee leading the process.
“St. Thomas is well-positioned among Catholic institutions to attract an outstanding pool of candidates,” said Amy Goldman, vice chair of St. Thomas’ Board of Trustees and search committee chair. “The national search for the next leader will be an opportunity to showcase the growing reputation and thriving community at St. Thomas to a national audience.”
Goldman is joined by search committee vice chair Reverend Edward A. Malloy, a trustee and former president of the University of Notre Dame. The 14-member committee has begun hosting stakeholder listening sessions to identify the attributes of candidates who should make up the pool of applicants, from whom the search committee would select the next president.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff have also been invited to share their feedback via a survey.
The committee expects to name its next president in time for the 2023-24 academic year.
The search commences following Dr. Julie Sullivan’s departure after nine years serving as St. Thomas’ first lay and woman leader. Sullivan has been selected to become Santa Clara University’s next president beginning July 1. In the meantime, Rob Vischer, J.D., who has served as dean of the St. Thomas law school since 2013, is serving as interim president.
The move comes as St. Thomas recently celebrated commencement for its undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as its two-year Dougherty Family College and School of Law. Additionally, the university is on track to welcome one of its largest classes of incoming undergraduates in recent years, as well as one of its most diverse. Included in that class will be its first-ever cohort to attend the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing. Construction is also underway for the Schoenecker Center, a 130,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art STEAM complex that will be a collaborative space serving students majoring in science, technology, the arts and mathematics. The center will be St. Thomas’ largest academic building when it opens in 2024.