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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|President Spitzer Initiates Leadership Transition|
Gonzaga University’s 25th President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., announced today that he will work with the school’s Board of Trustees to initiate a transition of leadership over the next 16 months. He plans to leave his post in July 2009.
“The university has made considerable progress during the past 10 years and now enjoys a momentum which will catalyze even further progress,” Rev. Spitzer said. “I believe that transitions are best made during times of real advance rather than times of crisis or neutrality, and so I believe that this is an ideal time to begin the transition process.”
When Rev. Spitzer arrived at Gonzaga in July 1998, the university was experiencing financial difficulties. He set a course of action that not only restored financial stability, but propelled the university to its best financial health in its 120 years.
During Rev. Spitzer’s tenure as president, Gonzaga’s enrollment has increased from 4,507 to 6,923, and the aptitude of the university’s incoming freshmen has steadily increased from averages of 3.54 GPA/1159 SAT score, to 3.72/1192. Cash contributions have increased from $5.8 million to $15.4 million annually. He has overseen campus construction of projects totaling more than $200 million, including seven academic facilities designed to enhance the teaching experience. Another $75 million in projects are in the planning stages. The annual budget has increased from $73 million to $180 million. Recently, Rev. Spitzer has engaged with the Gonzaga community to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that will guide the university through 2012.
In his letter to the Gonzaga community this morning, Rev. Spitzer said that after a new president is in place he plans to continue nurturing the relationships which have been central to his Gonzaga experience while working on two national institutes he founded. He also will continue writing and presenting on ethics, faith, leadership, metaphysics and philosophy.
“It has been a real privilege to work with all of you, and more importantly, to share in the faith, hope, friendship, and love that you aspire to bring to one another and to the world,” Rev. Spitzer said in his letter. “I think we can together enjoy the accomplishments of the past and look forward to the remarkable opportunities in the future. Please be assured of my prayers for all of you as we move into the transition process which anticipates even greater blessings than the ones we have already experienced.”
Rev. Spitzer earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Gonzaga in 1974, a master’s degree in philosophy from St. Louis University (1978), a master’s of divinity from the Gregorian University (1983) in Rome, a master’s in New Testament from the Weston School of Theology (1984) in Cambridge, Mass., and a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 1989. Born in Honolulu, he is a 1970 graduate of Punahou High School.
He taught at Seattle University (1978-1980), at Georgetown University (1984-1990), and again at Seattle University (1990-1998). He received teaching excellence awards at both institutions. Spitzer’s interests include ethics in organizations and the culture, metaphysics, ontology of physics, and the dialogue between faith and reason. He has written five books and has maintained a speaking schedule that has included more than 100 presentations annually.
The Board of Trustees will appoint a search committee that includes Trustees, administration, faculty, and Jesuits, to begin identifying presidential candidates within the next month.
Follow the links below to view Father Spitzer’s letter to the Gonzaga community, which was disseminated this morning, and a response to his transition plan from the Board of Trustees.
For additional information or to schedule an interview today, contact Dale Goodwin, (509) 323-6133. Father Spitzer has made time available between 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. today.
Please view the following links for the Presidential Announcement to the Gonzaga Community and for the Trustees' Response to the Presidential Announcement.