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An Important Announcement

March 15, 2022

Dear St. Norbert College Family,

I write today with news that is difficult to share. I have accepted the invitation to be the inaugural president of both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota.

This news is especially difficult to share because Carol and I have a deep and unbridled love for St. Norbert College, our alma mater. We cherish the mission and admire each of you, the people who create this beautiful community. Our time at SNC – both our undergraduate years back in the ’80s and what will be five years in the presidency this summer – has shaped and deeply inspired us. We know firsthand the transformative power of St. Norbert College: the holistic development of students in the context of the Norbertine, Catholic, and liberal arts mission traditions. We also know the importance and sacredness of understanding and pursuing the common good, and honoring the dignity of every person. We know these things to be true because we have experienced them here, journeying with each of you.

We will miss you all. You have made us better people.

To our inspiring SNC students, the sole purpose for everything we do: Thank you for giving Carol and me so many memories. Witnessing you learn, grow, and navigate your SNC experience has been our greatest joy and frequently reminded us of our time as students. Concerts, plays, athletic events and championships, 7 p.m. Mass, research presentations, ice cream socials, Flapjacks & Finals, Senior Wine Tastings, 1-ton snowball making, senior art shows, camping on the quad, water skiing at dawn, office hours with Sir George, and even your protests during which you exercised the utmost civility while making your voices heard on important issues: Each moment with you has been a gift. Watching you flourish has been pure vocational bliss. You, students, give us hope for a better and more equitable, just, peaceful world. It has been a privilege to know you and walk with you. Thank you for teaching us and generously inviting us along on your Green Knight journey.

To our faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, and sponsors, a college cannot produce incredible graduates and uncommon success without a core of brilliant, visionary, inspired, and wildly talented people who care deeply. Indeed, St. Norbert College is blessed with first-class faculty, staff, and administrators, and faithful governors and sponsors. I admire your commitment to our mission; belief in the full development of our students; passion for creating new knowledge, pursuing truth and beauty, and honing your craft; and your willingness to challenge our community to adapt and change. You are inspiring. Thank you for giving so fully of yourselves on behalf of our students, and for being the powerful engine behind the college’s ability to produce the kind of success that has become the envy of many in higher education. The fruits of your hard work and passions are the more than 20,000 SNC graduates out in the world creating better communities with the skills and characteristics you both modeled and helped them acquire. Carol and I have been forever changed thanks to knowing you and working with you. It’s been an honor to count you as friends and colleagues, and we remain humbled by your steady support over the years.

We are going, but not leaving. Forever St. Norbert College’s biggest fans, we will always be proud alumni.

Carol and I will join the communities of the College of Saint Benedict’s and St. John’s University on July 1. This new position calls us to serve these two remarkable institutions – a women’s college and a university for men – which have a long history of collaborating and now forge a bold new path: Two colleges, together. Their future will be one marked by combined governing boards, a single leadership team, and one president. I invite you to read more here

In the coming weeks, the Board of Trustees will develop plans and communicate with you details about a national search for the ninth president of our beloved college. But first, it’s a personal privilege to share that the Executive Committee of the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees met this morning and appointed Thomas Kunkel, former president of St. Norbert College, to serve as SNC’s interim president. Tom steadfastly served St. Norbert College for nine years, retiring in 2017 and leaving an indelible impact on this campus. I'm grateful he has agreed to return for one more year. As I leave this office this summer, I will take heart knowing this cherished institution is in his capable, steady hands. 

Until then, we all have much work to accomplish! Together as a community we will continue to deliver a top-shelf educational experience for students, recruit the next talented class of Green Knights, continue to implement the strategic plan, renovate residence halls, exceed fundraising expectations, maintain our strong financial position, anticipate the glory of spring semester (and the blossoming of our beautiful campus!), beat back whatever is left of the COVID-19 pandemic, pray ardently for peace in Ukraine, and prepare to send our seniors off with a glorious outdoor commencement. While this is a hard email to write, I do so with joy that is grown from the knowledge that we have shared something special during these past almost five years and that the result of our collective work has been and will continue to be uncommon success.

Wherever you are – traveling during spring break, continuing your excellent work for the college, and/or navigating life’s joys and challenges – please know Carol and I pray for your safety, good health, and happiness.

With love and the highest regard,