Seattle University — President

As it anticipates celebrating 130 years of service to its students and its extensive external communities, Seattle University (SU) seeks a president to succeed its long-serving and successful incumbent, Stephen V. Sundborg, S. J.

Founded in 1891, Seattle University is a Jesuit, Catholic university located in the dynamic heart of Seattle. Ranked as one of the nation’s leading institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review, Seattle University has eight academic divisions: Albers School of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Nursing, College of Science and Engineering, School of Law, School of New and Continuing Studies and School of Theology and Ministry. Its diverse student body is made up of more than 7,200 students enrolled in 64 undergraduate programs, 39 graduate programs and 32 certificate programs. 

Seattle University has spent the last year considering its future, identifying an ambitious set of Strategic Directions that will reposition the university for the 21st century. The university’s new president will have the opportunity to execute a strategic plan to realize the promise of those aspirations, focusing on the university’s traditional strengths in assuring student success in an admirably diverse and socially active environment while leveraging the significant advantages of its location in Seattle, one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial cities in the world. Among the new president’s most important resources in pursuing the success of the plan will be the institution’s Jesuit, Catholic ethos, which emphasizes intellectual rigor, deep inquiry and discernment, social justice, care for the whole person, academic freedom and a deep respect for the dignity of every individual.

To accomplish these ends, Seattle University’s next president will be a successful and experienced leader of people, programs and institutional change. Building on a deep understanding of the current circumstances of higher education – including the impact of, challenges associated with and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 crisis, the president will be an active and enthusiastic communicator and collaborator who is dedicated to inclusive, data-driven decision-making and the tenets of shared governance. The president will be a Roman Catholic, either lay or in religious orders, who resonates deeply and has demonstrated a professional life consistent with the university’s Jesuit ethos and values and has demonstrated an abiding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. An earned terminal degree is required, as is at least a decade of progressively responsible managerial and leadership experience in one or more similarly complex environments, preferably in higher education. As would be expected, strong fiscal and budgetary skills and the necessary skill set and authentic enthusiasm to be a successful philanthropic fundraiser and builder of partnerships are required. The next president will be dedicated to the university’s mission: to educating the whole person, to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.

Seattle University stands at the threshold of a new era of leadership, innovation and engagement, one that is built on more than a century of academic excellence and outstanding service to the community. Its next president will play a historic role in catalyzing its extraordinary faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters in securing the future of this storied institution, as it becomes one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world. 

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. A description of the position can be found here: www.wittkieffer.com. Interested parties may apply via the WittKieffer Candidate Portal. For fullest consideration, application materials should be received by August 15, 2020. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile. For more information, questions or nominations, please contact Seattle University’s consultants, Dennis Barden, Suzanne Teer and Jessica Herrington at: SeattleUPresident@wittkieffer.com.

Seattle University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in the administration of any of its education policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics, and other school-administered policies and programs, or in its employment related policies and practices. In addition, the university does not discriminate on the basis of genetic information in its employment related policies and practices, including coverage under its health benefits program.

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