Dear Gonzaga friends,
On Friday, July 16, the Gonzaga University Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Thayne McCulloh as the University's 26th president. Dr. McCulloh has served in an exemplary manner as interim president over the past year, and we are convinced that he is the right person for the position at this time in the University's history. Dr. McCulloh lived the Gonzaga experience as an undergraduate, and we watched him mature as a leader during his 20-year tenure at Gonzaga. He has succeeded at nearly every project he has undertaken, ranging from revamping our financial aid program to creating strategic growth management plans.
Gonzaga is blessed with great prosperity - largely due to the generosity of our constituents - that afforded us the opportunity to select the very best leader possible. In the past year, more prospective students applied to Gonzaga than ever before, more individuals gave gifts to the University than in any other year and more students experienced an education infused with the Jesuit ideals of faith and service than ever before. It quickly became clear Dr. McCulloh was not only maintaining this momentum, but creating it.
Dr. McCulloh is the first lay president to serve Gonzaga as a regular appointee - a fact the Trustees did not take lightly. While we initially set out to find a Jesuit to replace Father Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., over time it became clear that the best leader, visionary and person to keep Gonzaga moving forward was right here. In order to seize this specific opportunity, the University bylaws requiring the president to be a Jesuit were suspended. While this does not preclude Gonzaga from having a Jesuit leader in the future, we know that Dr. McCulloh is the right person to lead Gonzaga into its 125th Anniversary (2012) and beyond.
The Gonzaga Jesuit community, led by Father Steve Kuder, S.J., is confident in Dr. McCulloh's ability to further Gonzaga's Catholic, Jesuit mission. As part of our process, Trustee Emeritus Tom Tilford and Trustee Kathleen Magnuson Sheppard met with faculty, staff, Jesuit, administrative, Regent and Trustee leadership to discuss this decision. All strongly supported Dr. McCulloh's leadership, citing his aptitude for handling financial matters, inclusiveness in decision making and focus on academic excellence.
Finally, Dr. McCulloh has a vision for Gonzaga. He is focusing additional resources on addressing student needs, and shifting dollars to key student life and academic priorities. He is setting in motion plans to expand the University endowment to make Gonzaga more accessible to students. This effort will result in more scholarships, professorships for faculty and funds for student life enterprises. He also sees merit in an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students to address some of the world's biggest challenges.
The appointment of Dr. McCulloh to president gives us great optimism for the future of Gonzaga University. The mission of Gonzaga is strong and well articulated, and the faculty here is second-to-none. Dr. McCulloh is blessed to have a presidential cabinet that has a collective service to the University of more than 150 years. Gonzaga is in good hands. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Thayne McCulloh as Gonzaga's next great president.
Please see the enclosed news release and visit www.gonzaga.edu/president for more information.
John J. Luger
Chair, Board of Trustees