University of St. Thomas Names Its First Woman President

President Julie SullivanThe University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, has announced that Julie Sullivan will be its next president. When she takes office on July 1, she will be the first woman and the first lay person to serve as president of the 128-year-old educational institution.

Dr. Sullivan is currently executive vice president and provost at the University of San Diego. She previously served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 16 years and then taught at the University of California at San Diego.

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Dr. Sullivan originally enrolled at Valdosta State University in Georgia but after one year transferred to the University of Florida. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and a Ph.D. in business administration, all from the University of Florida.

At the news conference announcing her appointment, Dr. Sullivan tried to calm any concern in the university community that having a woman president would somehow change the culture of the institution, which always has been led by a Catholic priest. She stated, “The first order of business will be to acknowledge that, yes, a lay Catholic woman is your leader and I also want to assure the entire community that we will not deviate in our commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic values that have been a St. Thomas hallmark. I have the deepest respect for the Catholic Church as a vibrant and living institution. A Catholic university is a special place where we engage with the Church in a spirit of free inquiry and robust dialogue, and scholars here at St. Thomas will always play a vital role in that regard.”

Below is a video of the press conference announcing Dr. Sullivan’s appointment.

Filed Under: LeadershipMilestonesNews


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