Fr. Dennis Dease, University of St. Thomas president, steps down

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After 22 eventful years, Fr. Dennis Dease will step down from the presidency of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. The list of Dease's accomplishments is stunning. The Pioneer Press has an excellent story capturing Dease's tenure.

Dease's leadership of St. Thomas places him among colleagues such as the Notre Dame's legendary Fr. Ted Hesburgh and Georgetown University's Jesuit Fr. Tim Healey as some of the most transformative leaders in Catholic higher education.

Here's a partial list of Dease's accomplishments:

  • Starting 11 new undergraduate and 17 master's programs and a doctoral program
  • Launching a Catholic studies semester on the new Rome campus and a London business semester
  • Earning national or international accreditation for the university's business, divinity, education, engineering, law, psychology and social work programs.
  • Founding the new Center for Catholic Studies, which offers degrees and institutes in Catholic leadership, public policy and more
  • Becoming the overseer of six charter schools in the Twin Cities
  • Completing 20 major building projects, including the establishment of a Minneapolis campus
  • Raising $765 million during two capital campaigns
  • Increasing the four-year graduation rate from 42 percent in 1991 to 60 percent now
  • Setting an undergraduate enrollment record at 6,336 students in 2012 and tripling the number of minority students. There are also 3,980 graduate students.

Dr. Julie Sullivan*, the former executive vice president and provost of the University of San Diego, becomes the first woman and the first layperson to serve as president of the University of St. Thomas in its 128-year history.

*An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect name of the new president.

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