Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brother Craig Franz resigns as president of SMU
- Letter from the Board of Trustees

To members of the Saint Mary's University community:

My apologies for bringing a matter as serious as this to you in the midst of your Christmas preparations, but the circumstances and timing leave me no other course.

It is with regret that I announce that Brother Craig J. Franz, FSC has resigned as President of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, effective immediately.
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Jeffrey R. Highland, Ph.D., University Provost and Vice President of the College, has agreed to serve as Interim President of Saint Mary's University.

Following receipt of information about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior from Saint Mary's College of California, the University addressed the matter with Brother Craig. Earlier this month, Brother Craig disclosed to his religious superiors and to me as Board Chair, that while serving as President of Saint Mary's College of California he engaged in an episode of inappropriate sexual behavior with an adult student who was enrolled in that institution.

Brother Craig realizes that his activity was inappropriate in light of his religious vows and his position as a leader, teacher and mentor.

Brother Craig has left the Saint Mary's University campus and is residing with his religious community.

The circumstances of Brother Craig's departure from Saint Mary's are unfortunate, for he made many significant contributions to the University.

Saint Mary's University takes matters of this nature very seriously and has an established protocol in place to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct made by anyone. The University does not tolerate inappropriate sexual behavior between a person in authority -- whether they be religious or lay -- with any student, faculty or staff member of the University, no matter what their age. Our policies and details about how to file an allegation of misconduct are posted on the University's Web site at

I cannot tell you how troubling it is for me to deliver this news to you, particularly at this time of year. As a second-generation alumnus of Saint Mary's, and the parent of both a graduate and a current student, I remain committed to Christian Brothers education. I feel very bad for all parties involved.

The Board joins me in praying for the healing of everyone in this matter.

We also express our gratitude to Dr. Highland for agreeing to serve as Interim President during this time of transition. Dr. Highland is an experienced and respected educator and administrator. He joined the University in 1977 and is a professor of political science. Since 2000, he has served as the University's chief operating and academic officer. Dr. Highland recently led the University's successful two-year self-study and site visit as it seeks reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

I am confident that Dr. Highland and the University's Cabinet -- a group of experienced senior administrators -- together with the Board of Trustees will continue to provide the leadership and resources for our faculty and staff to maintain the Lasallian tradition of awakening, nurturing and empowering our students to lead ethical lives of service and leadership. We remain committed to the goal to be ranked among the top 20 teaching institutions in the U.S. by 2012, the University's centennial.

If you wish to speak with me about any aspect of the information in this letter, please contact Bob Conover, Vice President for Communication at (507) 457-1496, or email me directly at


Robert M. Figliulo
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Saint Mary's University program brings private college cost within reach

WINONA, Minn. - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota has created the Brother James Miller Scholarship for Access, designed to assist good students in the low- to middle-income range who might not otherwise be able to afford a private college.

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Saint Mary's guarantees that comprehensive charges for all qualified freshmen enrolling at the Winona campus in fall 2007 will be equal to or less than the cost to in-state students attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. (Comprehensive charges include tuition, room, meals and fees). Lower-income families may also qualify for federal and state aid that further reduces their cost.
The 2007-08 overall cost to attend Saint Mary's is $28,528. The University of Minnesota, where costs for next year have not yet been set, was used for a comparable financial guideline as the in-state flagship public university, with costs in the median range of other Big 10 schools. The estimated minimum value of the Brother James Miller Scholarship for Access will exceed $45,000 per student over a four-year period. Saint Mary's has allocated an additional $684,000 to fund freshman scholarships and grants in 2007-08.
“We're excited to offer this new guarantee,” said Tony Piscitiello, vice president for admission. “Often students whose parents are in the low- to middle-income range do not consider attending private schools - even Saint Mary's - because they believe it is not affordable, despite the available grants and financial aid.”
Brother Craig J. Franz, Saint Mary's president, added, “We're proud of the quality education SMU offers - including the highly individualized attention students receive to better achieve their educational goals. With the Brother James Miller Scholarship for Access, more students will be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Saint Mary's.”
As a Lasallian institution, Saint Mary's tradition is to make quality education accessible and affordable, with special sensitivity to economically challenged families.
The new scholarship program is named for Brother James Miller, a 1966 Saint Mary's graduate who did mission work in Nicaragua and Guatemala. It was in the latter country - while doing God's work of bringing education, faith and hope to marginalized people - that he was shot and killed on Feb. 13, 1982.
To qualify for the Brother James Miller Scholarship for Access, students must be entering freshmen in fall 2007, have parental adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, be dependent of parent(s), be “B” students, and meet requirements specified online at
Check the website for more information or call the Office of Admission at (800) 635-5987.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brother Craig Franz edits book on Lasallian higher education

WINONA, Minn. - Brother Craig Franz, FSC, Ph.D., president of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, has published a book intended to animate and inform campus conversations on the future of Lasallian universities by providing an array of international viewpoints.
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Brother Craig is the editor of “Current Opportunities and Future Visions: Reflections on Lasallian Higher Education.” The release by Saint Mary's Press is a product of the International Association of Lasallian Universities (IALU). Brother Craig is president of that organization, which represents 65 institutions around the world sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

The book is a collection of 12 essays from distinguished leaders in Catholic, Lasallian universities, representing institutions in Asia, North America, Central and South America, and Europe. The authors included university presidents, administrators, faculty and a former Superior General of the Institute of the Christian Brothers.

Both Brother Craig and Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, Ph.D., SMU chancellor and president emeritus, contributed chapters.

Writers were invited to reflect on the intricate dynamics that influence Lasallian higher education, and to provide the “big picture” context for institutions as they move forward in changing times and the increased importance of lay ministries at religiously sponsored institutions.

To broaden the base of its readership around the world, the book was simultaneously released in both English and Spanish versions. Copies are available from Saint Mary's Press, 800-533-8095.