Minnesota's University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees is set to vote on the St. Paul-based Catholic university's next president Thursday, Feb. 14.The University launched a national search last year for a leader to replace its retiring president, Father Dennis Dease. He is retiring this year after 22 years as president.
The school has not named the finalists for the job. A Catholic priest has served as president since the school's founding 127 years ago.
University spokesman Jim Winterer said St. Thomas would not name finalists in advance of Thursday's regular board meeting, which is closed to the public.
"We're making plans to announce a name as soon as the board makes a decision," Winterer said.The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal floated the name of University of San Diego Executive Vice President and Provost Julie H. Sullivan as one of four finalists. The Journal cited an anonymous source saying that the presidential search committee has recommended Sullivan as the University's president.
Sullivan is currently the chief academic and budget officer at the University of San Diego.
If chosen, Sullivan would be the first woman, and first lay leader, of the University.
The change in leadership will be the first since the University altered its bylaws in 2007, eliminating the ex officio role of the local bishop,essentially preventing then-incoming Archbishop John Nienstedt from a position on the board of trustees. Instead, the board elected then Archbishop Harry Flynn to a five-year term as chair of the university's board.
At the time, the board also voted to eliminate the ex officio designation from the position of vice chair held by then-vicar general Fr. Kevin McDonough,and from that of university president Fr. Dennis Dease. Each was elected to a five-year board term.
While the University of St. Thomas refers to itself as an archdiocesan university, it notes on its website that it “is not owned or governed by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
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