In a letter to faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Brother William Mann—president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota—announced today (Sept. 19) that after considerable reflection, prayer, and discernment, he will conclude his service in May 2018.
Brother William took over as Saint Mary’s 13th president in 2008 and has provided 10 years of dedicated and inspirational leadership to the university.
As stated in his letter, the Saint Mary’s University Board of Trustees will begin the process of identifying his successor.
Prior to becoming Saint Mary’s president, Brother William spent almost 30 years in leadership roles with the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
A native of New York City, he joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1965. He began his career as an English and religion teacher at two Christian Brother high schools in New York and Rhode Island. He then held numerous positions within the Christian Brothers, including Vicar General from 2000 to 2007—the second-highest officer of the international Catholic teaching order.
While serving on the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Board of Trustees from 1996-2001, Brother William began working to further Saint Mary’s mission. Under his leadership as president, the university is well positioned to meet the challenges of today’s higher education landscape.
His letter to the Saint Mary’s community is reprinted below:
Letter of September 19, 2017
As many of you are well aware, this is my tenth year as president of the university; and I write today to let you know that I will be concluding my service at Saint Mary’s and returning home to the East Coast in June 2018.
Since 1984, I have only lived at home in my own District of the Brothers for about five years. These wonderful ten years at Saint Mary’s in the Lasallian Midwest District of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and commitments and obligations of leadership within the worldwide Institute of the De La Salle Christian Brothers have kept me away from home for long enough.
This past weekend I turned seventy years old. While I am in good health, it seems appropriate that I prepare to change the intensity and the pace of activities and take the opportunity to spend a bit more time with my family. My religious superiors in the Lasallian District of Eastern North America and I came to this decision about two weeks ago after having spent the summer months in reflection, prayer, and discernment.
And while I may be in my final year as president, the university is still enjoying the new spring of its second century. As I shared at our recent university convocation, Strategic Plan 2017 has begun to produce extraordinarily positive and good fruit:
- Goal 4 … Science Initiative … the opening in 2017 of a 50,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility at the College in Winona … the inauguration in 2017 of a collaboration with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences on a new and prestigious 3+2 physician assistant program … the acquisition of Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center in 2015 and the recent groundbreaking at this locus of the SGPP Rochester Initiative … in an expanded 25,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility.
- Goal 6 … Graduate On-line Initiative … a cost and revenue sharing partnership with Wiley Deltak … that has grown from 47 graduate students five years ago to over 1,200 students … with a 90% persistence rate.
- Goal 2 … Mission & Identity Initiative … First Generation (undergraduate scholars and high school Countdown-to-College components) … an internationally recognized Lasallian Research Symposium … Lasallian education & formation participation by faculty, staff, and administrators resulting in positive attention not just to the university but increasingly to professors and staff of the university publishing on the topic and being invited to present at national and international conferences and symposia.
- Goal 9 … Philanthropy Initiative … moving the needle … from on-average $4.5M raised annually … to a total of more than $55M raised in the past four years … meaning that all of the initiatives mentioned to this point have either funded themselves or been completely funded by philanthropic investment … because benefactors, trustees, alums, families, and friends believe we are serious in what we set out to do in Strategic Plan 2017.
Thank you to so many of you for your good and hard work in collaborating, “together and by association,” over these ten years. Our work together, however, is not finished. There is much yet to be done for the good of our students and the university. Know that I pledge my wholehearted commitment to work with you during the year ahead, and I ask the same of you.
At some point in the not too distant future, the leadership of the Board of Trustees will be in communication with the university community about plans for the identification of the fourteenth president of Saint Mary’s.