Giving Banner
  cta: "#show-navobile",
  changeDOM: true
Mobile Menu Icon

The Inauguration of Brian Bruess Eighth President of St. Norbert College

Facebook / Tweet

From St. Norbert College, September 21, 2017
by Mike Counter,, 920-403-3089

Ceremonies for the inauguration of the eighth president of St. Norbert College, Brian J. Bruess, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 11. A Mass of celebration will be held at St. Norbert Abbey at 12:30 p.m., followed by the inaugural ceremony at 2:30 p.m. in Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts on the St. Norbert College campus, with a reception to follow. A pre-inaugural concert will take place in Walter Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m., featuring a cappella artists Street Corner Symphony. Tickets are complimentary, but required. Go to, or call the St. Norbert College box office at 920-403-3950 to reserve your seat. For a list of all inaugural events, visit This year the college celebrates its 119th anniversary.

Bruess has chosen to focus on "Fiat Lux," which means "Let there be Light" as the theme for his inauguration.

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," says Abbot Gary Neville.

Bruess served in various leadership roles in his 21-year tenure at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. He was executive vice president and chief operating officer, and was 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 principal 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.

Bruess 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' wife, Carol, who is also a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert College, was 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 senior at Stanford University, and Gracie, a senior in high school.

Bruess succeeds Thomas Kunkel, who successfully led the college for the past nine years. Kunkel retired on July 1.
The only Norbertine college in the world, St. Norbert is a four-year, Catholic liberal arts institution, devoted to the Norbertine traditions of community, education and service to others. Founded in 1898 as a school to prepare men for the priesthood, St. Norbert College became coeducational in 1952. Today the residential campus serves approximately 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students, hailing from throughout the United States and more than 20 countries.

St. Norbert College is nestled on the banks of the Fox River in the residential community of De Pere, Wis., neighboring Green Bay -- a vibrant metropolitan area of more than 300,000. The academic excellence of the college is nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges," Forbes College Rankings, Princeton Review's "Best Midwestern Colleges," the Templeton Honor Roll for Character-- Building Colleges and others.

Recent years have seen record enrollments at St. Norbert, coupled with unprecedented donor-funded investments in the campus. Today, historic buildings stand side by side with state-of-the-art facilities devoted to science and mathematics, athletics, the arts, and student life.

To Top Arrow