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Brian Bruess Appointed Next President of St. Norbert College

From St. Norbert College, December 12, 2016
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

Brian Bruess has been named the eighth president of St. Norbert College, effective July
1, 2017. Bruess will succeed Thomas Kunkel, who has successfully led the college for the
past nine years.

"It's gratifying to know the college -- with a vibrant community at the center -- is so
healthy and has seen much recent success, yet remains eager to discover an even
brighter future," said Bruess. It's a most significant distinction to follow President Tom
Kunkel, a person I respect so deeply. The entire St. Norbert community is indebted to
Tom for the extraordinary leadership he's shown the college."

Bruess was introduced to the college and local community at an event held at 10 a.m.
today in Old St. Joseph Church on the St. Norbert College campus.

"As chair of the search committee, it was a pleasure to work with 21 people representing
diverse members of the St. Norbert community," said Jay Williams. "The list of potential
candidates was long and included several sitting presidents. Through this process, Dr.
Bruess reflected the skill, the passion, the vision, and most important the values, to be
the right leader to continue the success of President Kunkel."

Bruess, a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert, is only the second St. Norbert graduate to
hold the position of president. The Rev. Dennis Burke, O. Praem.,'26, was the first.  

"As a community, we look forward to working with Brian in sharing and growing the
Norbertine tradition and values at St. Norbert College," said Abbot Gary Neville.

Bruess has served in various leadership roles in his 21-year tenure at St. Catherine
University in St. Paul, Minn. He is currently executive vice president and chief operating
officer. During his career at St. Kate's, Bruess has been responsible for multiple areas
including enrollment management, student affairs, information technology, athletics,
finance and administration. Bruess built a reputation for a collaborative and innovative
approach to planning and leadership; was the principle architect of efforts resulting in 15
consecutive years of record student enrollment; has an unrelenting focus on student
learning, which resulted in strong student retention and increased diversity; and has
been instrumental in attaining and sustaining St. Kate's financial strength.

In 2006, he was invited to the Council of Independent Colleges Presidential Vocation
and Institutional Mission: Program for Prospective College Presidents, and in 2010 was
invited to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Rome Seminar. Prior to his
time at St. Kate's, Bruess served in a variety of leadership roles at Ohio University in
Athens, Ohio.

Brian has been honored for his contributions to higher education with the Minnesota
College Personnel Association's 2005 Lud Spolyar Distinguished Service Award and the
2002 Linda Schrempp Alberg Award.

He received a bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and psychology at St. Norbert
College and both a master's and a doctoral degree from Ohio University, Athens.

Bruess's wife, Carol, who is also a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert College, is professor of
communication and journalism and director of the family studies program
at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Brian and Carol have two children: Tony, a junior at Stanford University, and Gracie, a junior in high school.

Dr. Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU), hailed the selection of Dr. Brian Bruess as the new president of St. Norbert College. "It is a testimonial to the quality of St. Norbert College's graduates that the new president is 'one of their own,'" he said. "St. Norbert is a student-centered college; it is surely to the advantage of both the college and of Dr. Bruess to begin with the students' perspective and the alumni/ae love for their alma mater."


"It's a tremendous privilege to be invited to lead and serve the very institution that's
had the most profound effect on not only Carol and me, but on our entire family -- the
only institution in the world built on the powerful, tripartite mission of Norbertine, Catholic and liberal arts. Carol and I are beyond delighted and humbled to be coming home to the community we admire and love most dearly.