SJU hires search firm to seek its next president

COLLEGEVILLE — St. John’s University has hired a search firm to help find its next president, and for the first time the pool of candidates could include someone who isn’t a member of the monastery.

Academic Search Inc. will assist in the search to find the successor to the Rev. Robert Koopmann, who is retiring. The goal is to have Koopmann’s replacement selected by March; that person will start their job next summer.

Koopmann became president of St. John’s University in July 2009, replacing interim President Dan Whalen, who stepped in when Brother Dietrich Reinhart unexpectedly announced his retirement due to health reasons.

The presidential search committee will be assisted by Jacqueline Doud and Maya Ranchod Kirkhope of Academic Search Inc.

And that search will be different this time. In the past, all candidates for the job have come from the monastery.

“It’s an open search,” Abbot John Klassen said. “There’s still a Benedictine preference. That is, if we have a monk candidate who is a strong candidate and the search committee feels that this individual is going to be a strong candidate, that person would most likely be brought forward. But we are looking broadly and nationally.”

All three finalists for the job when Koopmann was selected were members of the monastery. And although St. John’s didn’t have a policy that required the president to be a member of the monastery, that’s how it worked out, Klassen said.

There were no changes in university bylaws to allow for a non-monastery member to become president, he said.

“It’s been our practice, but our bylaws have never required that the president be a monk,” Klassen said.

He said he thought there would be a candidate or candidates from the monastery.

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SJU hires search firm to seek its next president
December 11, 2011
St. Cloud Times

Topics: John Klassen, Robert Koopmann

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