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March 1, 2022 — Santa Clara University today announced that Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D., current president of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, has been named its 30th president. Sullivan will become the first layperson and first woman to serve as president of Santa Clara University; she will assume the role on July 1, 2022.

Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Of this historic appointment, Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits West Province, said: “In the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuit community seeks to find God in all things and in all humanity. For centuries, our lay colleagues have played a critical role in our mission and our faith, carrying forward our commitment to be people for and with others. Throughout her career, Dr. Sullivan has led in service to others, living our Catholic teachings in both word and deed. As our world around us continues to change, we embrace and welcome Dr. Sullivan to this most critical leadership role and offer her and her family our prayers and support for their journey ahead.”

As president of the University of St. Thomas, where she has served for close to nine years, Sullivan is highly regarded for her role in the culmination of the University of St. Thomas’ transformation from a small liberal arts college to a comprehensive urban university. During her tenure, the University of St. Thomas campus experienced a physical transformation with new facilities and renovations, established the Morrison Family College of Health and the new School of Nursing, launched the Dougherty Family College, a new two-year pathway with progression toward a bachelor’s degree for historically underrepresented students, raised more than $100 million in new scholarships, and completed the university’s transition from Division-III to D-I athletics, among many other milestones.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next president of Santa Clara University, a true national leader in higher education,” said Sullivan. “Throughout my career I have been witness to the transformation that happens when you develop not only knowledgeable, but faithful, compassionate citizens of the world. At Santa Clara University, I have found a home rich in history and primed for the future, with its robust social consciousness distinctively driving tomorrow’s innovations. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Bronco family—students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni alike—and to engaging with full heart, mind and spirit in the work ahead.”

With the appointment of the first layperson and first woman president, Santa Clara University is breaking ground on a new era. But for Sullivan, this is an honor and responsibility she has upheld before, serving as the first layperson and first woman president of the University of St. Thomas. Prior to joining the University of St. Thomas, Sullivan was executive vice president and provost of the University of San Diego, a private Catholic university. An internationally recognized and award-winning scholar and educator in accounting, finance and taxation, Sullivan has extensive business and financial expertise with nearly 20 years of public company board service and 15 years of private company board service spanning several industries. As one of the foremost, nationally recognized leaders in Catholic higher education, she was recently elected to serve as the board chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for the 2022-2024 period.

Read more on the Santa Clara University website.

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