ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Rev. Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas since 1991, announced today that he will retire on June 30, 2013, upon the completion of his 22nd year in office.
Dease, who turns 69 this month, started his tenure in 1991 as St. Thomas’ 14th president. He’s the second-longest-tenured president in the school’s 127-year history.
“The timing for my retirement next year will be right for a number of reasons,” Dease said in a statement. “We will complete our $500 million Opening Doors capital campaign this October, and our preparation for our decennial accreditation visit by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association will conclude next year. Also, I will turn 70 next May, and I have other interests I would like to pursue.”
The university’s bylaws allow only a Roman Catholic – priest, religious or lay person – to serve as president. All 14 presidents of St. Thomas have been priests.
The university will begin searching for Dease’s successor in the next couple months.
During Dease’s tenure, St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus expanded from one to four buildings, and the St. Paul campus projects were highlighted by a new student center and a new athletic and recreation complex.