Friday, February 09, 2007

DeThomasis Assumes Duties of President

WINONA, Minn. -- At its regular meeting Friday, Feb. 9, the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Board of Trustees announced that the chancellor of the university, Brother Louis DeThomasis, FSC, Ph.D. will assume the duties of president until a permanent president is hired. The board also announced its intention to immediately commence a presidential search process.
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DeThomasis, 66, previously served as Saint Mary's president from 1984 to 2005. He was named chancellor of the university upon the completion of his 21-year tenure.

Brother Craig Franz, FSC, Ph.D. served as president from June 1, 2005 until his resignation Dec. 19, 2006. At that time, the SMU board asked Jeffrey Highland, Ph.D., to serve as interim president until official action could be taken at its Feb. 9 meeting. Dr. Highland will now continue in his roles as university provost and vice president of the College.

Rob Figliulo, chairman of the board of trustees, said DeThomasis is an outstanding person to serve as president during this time of transition. "He is an exceptional leader who knows the institution, he knows the faculty and staff, and he knows the communities. Throughout his association with Saint Mary's, Brother Louis has demonstrated his concern and commitment. He cares deeply for the success of the university.

"Saint Mary's will be in very good hands," Figliulo added. "Brother Louis is uniquely qualified to lead the institution and position it so that a new president can come in here with momentum and enthusiasm, and hit the ground running.

"We are so fortunate that Brother Louis agreed to put aside his other professional commitments to serve us again," Figliulo said. "He has our great admiration and immense gratitude."

Figliulo thanked Dr. Highland for accepting the call to serve the past two months. "Once again, Dr. Highland has shown just how dedicated he is to this university. We sincerely appreciate his willingness to take on even greater responsibility at a time when we especially needed his talent and experience."

DeThomasis also commended Dr. Highland, noting that Saint Mary's is "blessed to have such a skillful, dedicated and selfless administrator in a key leadership role."

Looking ahead, DeThomasis said he will "make sure that the coming months are productive and progressive.

"I will continue the momentum that Saint Mary's has as a Lasallian university that is proud of its past and absolutely committed to the future," DeThomasis said. "There are many fine initiatives underway that I pledge to carry forward, and there are many opportunities that are yet to be realized."