Dear Members of the Saint Mary’s College Community,
We are writing today with important news. After nearly eight years of dedicated leadership, Brother Ronald Gallagher has decided to step down from his role as president and return to the faculty when his current term ends on June 30, 2013. We are grateful for Brother Ronald’s many important contributions to Saint Mary’s and look forward to his return to the classroom.
An international search for his replacement, assisted by a leading executive search firm, will begin this summer. As determined by Saint Mary’s bylaws, the process will begin with a search for any qualified Christian Brother candidates. If a qualified De La Salle Christian Brother cannot be identified or is unwilling to serve, then other practicing Catholic applicants will be invited to apply. A subset of what will eventually be a more comprehensive presidential search committee is currently working to identify a firm to assist in conducting the search; this group includes former Board of Trustees Chair and current Trustee Peter Kelly, Provost Beth Dobkin, Trustee and Professor Brother Charles Hilken, former Board Chair James Quandt and Regent James Wood.
Details of the search process will be finalized after the firm is hired. In the meantime, we want you to know that we are committed to a broad-based and collaborative search process that extensively involves Saint Mary’s community members. We are confident that we will be able to introduce a highly qualified new president to our campus community early in 2013.
Due in large part to Brother Ronald’s accomplishments over the past seven and a half years, we believe that Saint Mary’s is particularly well positioned for a presidential transition at this time. Brother Ronald assumed the presidency at a period of some turbulence for Saint Mary’s and soon after encountered the most challenging economic times our nation has faced in the past half-century. His steady leadership has allowed the College to maintain fiscal stability and at the same time establish institutional momentum on many fronts. The Building on Strengths Strategic Plan, developed and completed during Brother Ronald’s tenure, has provided a road map for College planning and development. Significant progress in institutional and academic planning, curricular development, mission enhancement and institutional marketing provide a particularly fertile context for a presidential transition at this time.
We also believe that a host of indicators of institutional vitality will make Saint Mary’s a particularly attractive leadership opportunity. Traditional undergraduate enrollment is at an all-time high, and the College has attracted the most academically qualified and diverse undergraduate student body in its history. The College has become known nationally and internationally for its strong curriculum, its faculty, its inclusive community and its beautiful campus. Donor relations and alumni participation have been broadened. Saint Mary’s has achieved consistent improvement and success in its Division I athletic programs. The construction of the Kalmanovitz School of Education and Filippi Academic Hall, the Louis Guisto baseball field, renovations of campus facilities, including Oliver Hall, Dante Hall, De La Salle Hall and Augustine Hall, and the planned construction of the Joseph Alioto Recreation Center have substantially strengthened the College’s physical infrastructure.
In the days ahead, we will be in regular contact with the Saint Mary’s community as additional details of the presidential search process are finalized, such as full search committee membership and more precise timelines. We also look forward to sharing information in Spring 2013 about opportunities to honor and celebrate Brother Ronald’s efforts. Finally, we are enthusiastic about the prospect of introducing the 29th president of Saint Mary’s to the College community during the upcoming Sesquicentennial year.
Brother Donald Johanson, FSC
Provincial, San Francisco Province of the Order of the Brothers of the Christian Schools
Chair, Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees