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February 15, 2013

New President for University of St. Thomas

Our Board of Trustees voted unanimously yesterday to select Dr. Julie Sullivan, currently Provost at the University of San Diego, as our new president.  You can see read more about her here, here, and here.

I was a member of her Search Committee.  Out of a deep and wide pool, she was a true stand-out in every way, and I couldn't be more thrilled that she is joining us.

She will be our first lay president and, obviously, will provide us with a blast of the 'feminine genius.'  I liked her remarks on this  at the press conference:

"I'm sure many of you are wondering, What does this mean? How will this be different? Should we be scared?" Sullivan said. "I believe my appointment reflects the sign of the times. ... the board sought to broaden their pool of candidates to all qualified Roman Catholics."

"In my view, the board's decision was a reflection of their recognition that universities are very complex organizations today. And finding the best candidate to lead one requires a broad pool."

Here was an interesting statistic from the St. Paul Pioneer Press's coverage:

Baenninger said lay leaders have been replacing clergy as top administrators of Catholic universities in Minnesota and beyond. Of the 17 members of the Minnesota Council of Private Colleges, three are led by women, and two of those are Catholic institutions.

According to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, such institutions are ahead of the curve nationally when it comes to female top leadership, as well. Among the 194 members of the association, almost 35 percent have female presidents, compared with about 26 percent of all colleges and universities.

Perhaps it's time for me to update my 2007 article, What Catholic Law Schools could Learn from Harvard about Women, in which I argue that Catholic teachings support measures to support more women to stay in academia.  Or maybe someone's been reading that article?

Posted by Elizabeth Schiltz on February 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM in Schiltz, Elizabeth | Permalink

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