Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will have a familiar face returning to a familiar position. Former president Brother Louis DeThomasis will act as president during the university’s search for a new leader, the board of trustees announced Friday. The university hopes to find a new president in 12 to 18 months and will form a search committee soon.
DeThomasis, 66, served as Saint Mary’s president from 1984 to 2005, when he was named chancellor of the university. His title and responsibilities as chancellor will continue while he takes on duties as acting president.
“Saint Mary’s will be in very good hands,” board chairman Robert Figliulo said in a news release. “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.”
In December, Saint Mary’s president Brother Craig Franz resigned after he admitted to a sexual relationship with an adult student during his previous job as president of Saint Mary’s College of California.
Jeffrey Highland served as interim president until Friday. He will immediately resume his regular duties as university provost and vice president.
DeThomasis served on the board of trustees for eight years before becoming president in 1984. He served the longest term of any Saint Mary’s president and announced his resignation three years before he stepped down. He said Friday that he retired because he wanted the school to move forward and felt that a new president would help do that.
As chancellor, he has been responsible for working on public relations and being visible in the community. He said his new presidential duties will change his job significantly as he takes on day-to-day operations working with students, faculty and staff. “I will carry the university forward through my leadership and through the vision that the faculty and staff have clearly stated they would like to see,” he said.
DeThomasis said he looks forward to helping the university but joked he’s not excited about taking on extra duties.
The board also announced Friday appointment of presidential search committee chairwoman Mary Ann Remick, a board of trustee member from Rochester, Minn.
The presidential hiring process will begin soon and will take about a year to a 18 months, said Deb Nahrgang communication director. Winona Daily News