Where am I?
EXECUTIVE SEARCH PROFILE
St. Louis, MO
The next President of Fontbonne University will lead the institution to its next level of success through entrepreneurial, transformative, and collaborative leadership. Learn more about the nomination and application process here.
Founded in 1923 and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Fontbonne University is a Catholic co-educational institution of higher education offering liberal arts, professional, and adult programs. With the motto to “Learn More. Be More.,” Fontbonne strives to enhance the lives of students, faculty, staff, and members of the community through high quality educational programs delivered in an environment characterized by diversity and inclusion, open communication, and personal concern. Fontbonne University is a vibrant academic community dedicated to a holistic education for all students. In an atmosphere committed to excellence, students are challenged to think critically, act ethically, and communicate effectively both in and out of the classroom by faculty who are both scholars and mentors. Graduates of Fontbonne are well-equipped to play a leadership role in meeting the challenges of a global society.
Fontbonne University takes its name from Mother St. John Fontbonne, who, in 1808 after the French Revolution, re-founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ). Six Sisters of St. Joseph came to the United States in 1836 and established American roots in Carondelet, a small community in south St. Louis, Missouri, where they began their work with deaf children. Five years later, in 1841, they opened St. Joseph's Academy for girls. In 1917 the State of Missouri granted a charter for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province, to establish a liberal arts college for women in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1923 Fontbonne College held its first classes in the motherhouse in Carondelet, located in south St. Louis, while building began on the current site at the corner of Wydown and Big Bend Boulevards. Classes moved to the new location in Clayton and the first class of eight graduates received their degrees in 1927. In 1947, Fontbonne admitted its first African-American students; male students were first admitted in 1971 and the first graduate program was added in 1975. The first lay president, Dr. Meneve Dunham, was installed in 1985, and the first male president, Dr. Dennis C. Golden, was inaugurated in September 1995. In 2002 Fontbonne changed in status from college to university.
Fontbonne is a vibrant learning community of nearly 2,100, with over 1,100 enrolled in traditional undergraduate programs and approximately 1,000 enrolled in graduate, evening, and online programs. These students are taught by 279 full-time and adjunct faculty who are passionately engaged with, and strongly committed to, their students and the Fontbonne community. With a student to teacher ratio of 11:1, Fontbonne prides itself as a student-centered, personal community.
Fontbonne offers 44 majors, 26 minors, and 19 graduate programs in three colleges – the Eckelkamp College of Global Business & Professional Studies, College of Education & Communication Sciences & Disorders, and the College of Arts & Sciences.
The University is committed to providing its students a broad and comprehensive academic and learning experience. Fontbonne offers inter-institutional cross registration at Lindenwood University, Maryville University, Missouri Baptist University and Webster University. In addition, Fontbonne offers a number of academic opportunities in collaboration with other institutions: a dual degree program in Engineering (UMKC or Washington University); 3/2 programs in Occupational Therapy and Social Work (Washington University); an accelerated bridge program in Social Work (Saint Louis University); an accelerated undergraduate/graduate agreement with Aquinas Institute of Theology; upper division coursework in Religion/Theology at Saint Louis University; a 3+3 program with Logan College of Chiropractic; an articulation agreement in BSN degree completion with Barnes-Jewish College; and an exchange program with the Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph.
Students are offered the opportunity to learn outside the classroom as well. Study abroad opportunities are available during the academic year, for the summer, or over spring break. Service learning trips are scheduled at both national and international sites. Practicum and internship experiences are a part of many academic programs. Students have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking research, help to set up language screening programs in Central America, work in classrooms in England, and participate in experiential learning at sites throughout the metropolitan area.
One of Fontbonne’s most creative offerings is the Dedicated Semester: an academic adventure that allows the university as a whole – students, faculty, and staff – to explore a single theme each fall semester through a collaborative venture that includes coursework, guest speakers, special events, and co-curricular opportunities. Introduced in 2007, topics have included Judaism and its Cultures, Immigrant Experiences, and, this past fall, “Foodology: The Culture, Economics and Sciences of Food.” Coming Dedicated Semester offerings include: Sustainability, Civil Rights, and “The Future”.
In addition, Fontbonne is home to the Bosnian Memory Project, which is dedicated to establishing an enduring record of Bosnian genocide survivors, especially those living in metropolitan St. Louis. The Fontbonne community collaborates with members of St. Louis's large Bosnian community to record interviews of the survivors and their relatives; collect books, letters, and photographs that reflect the culture; host events that raise awareness about the experiences and identity of St. Louis's Bosnian population; and develop academic and co- curricular programming that promotes understanding of Bosnia and Bosnian-Americans. Fontbonne is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which completed its last visit in 2010. Fontbonne also holds specialized accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; Council on the Education of the Deaf; Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the American Dietetic Association; Commission for the Council for Social Work Education; Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology; and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP).
Fontbonne University honors the values and heritage of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet by fostering excellence, integrity, respect, diversity, community, justice, service, faith, and Catholic identity. Fontbonne’s student population, a rich blend of traditional and non-traditional ages, comes from the St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as 10 states and 22 countries. 12.5 percent of students live in campus-sponsored housing. The overall percentage of diversity in the student body is 28%.
Fontbonne is committed to the holistic development of students through co-curricular learning opportunities. The Student Affairs division offers a wide variety of leadership, recreational, service, spiritual, and professional development programs and resources. Additionally, there are nearly 35 academic, honor, and social student organizations, as well as specialized activities for residential students.
Students have the opportunity to be involved in a number of leadership programs, including QUEST – a new three-phase leadership program designed to help Fontbonne students acquire foundational leadership skills, discern their personal strengths, and guide them on their personal vocational journey. Fontbonne’s mission is at the core of the QUEST Program – educating students to think critically, act ethically, and assume responsibility as citizens and leaders.
A member of the NCAA Division III, the Fontbonne Griffins compete in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and three other affiliate conferences. Fontbonne offers 18 NCAA sports and one spirit squad. The athletic department, coaching, and athletic training staffs are strongly committed to fostering the growth of student-athletes as productive and ethical contributors in the classroom and in the community.
Fontbonne has a strong commitment to service. Opportunities for students are offered in both direct and indirect formats. Examples include domestic and international service trips, social justice awareness programs, and civic action and advocacy initiatives. Fontbonne also partners with external organizations that need volunteers, such as youth groups, health care facilities, and food pantries.
As a Catholic university, Fontbonne embraces students of all religious and spiritual backgrounds. Liturgies, prayer services, retreats, and interfaith programming encourage discernment and dialogue about differing beliefs and practices.
Fontbonne offers three unique Career Advantage Programs to increase the probability of making informed and satisfying career choices and being competitive in the job market. In addition, Fontbonne alumni can also take advantage of on-going career management guidance and professional development consultation.
Situated in a residential section of Clayton, Missouri, the 16-acre main campus is an attractive part of the area. The main campus consists of Ryan Hall (the main administrative building), Jack C. Taylor Library, three academic buildings, three residence halls, one off-campus student apartment building, and Wydown House, which is the President’s residence. In addition to the main campus in Clayton, an off-campus site in Brentwood provides access to Fontbonne’s programs for a diverse population of learners.
The main campus is directly across the street from Washington University; adjacent to Concordia Seminary; and in close proximity to many cultural and business venues that contribute to out-of-classroom learning. The renowned St. Louis Zoological Park, the business community of downtown St. Louis, the business and county government center of Clayton, nearby concert locales, educational and health care institutions, and non-profit organizations play a vital role in a Fontbonne education.
MISSION, VISION & VALUES
Fontbonne University is dedicated to the discovery, understanding, preservation and dissemination of truth. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in an atmosphere characterized by a commitment to open communication, personal concern and diversity. Fontbonne University seeks to educate students to think critically, to act ethically and to assume responsibility as citizens and leaders.
Fontbonne University aspires to be acknowledged as an outstanding Catholic university, educating leaders to serve a world in need. The Fontbonne community will:
- Be known for a synthesis of liberal and professional education that promotes life-long learning and that enables students to see themselves as part of a diverse and changing world;
- Work together to develop academic programs and educational opportunities that reflect high standards, interdisciplinary thought and integrated understanding;
- Continue to promote thoughtful experiential and service learning, bridging the gap between theory and practice by taking the student beyond the university walls;
- Build or strengthen alliances with individuals and organizations that are bringing about positive changes in the global community;
- Graduate students who will be distinguished by their appreciation of learning and the arts, their social conscience, and their ability to reflect, communicate and act.
Fontbonne University honors the values and heritage of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet by fostering excellence, integrity, respect, diversity, community, justice, service, faith and Catholic identity.
Fontbonne University is committed to:
- Achieving academic and educational excellence;
- Advancing historical remembrance, critical reflection and moral resolve;
- Promoting dialogue among diverse communities;
- Demonstrating care and respect for each member of the community;
- Serving the larger community;
- Preparing individuals to be an ethical and responsible presence to the world.
After nearly 20 years of outstanding leadership, Dr. Dennis C. Golden is retiring in June of 2014. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross (BS), Assumption College (MA) and Boston College (Ed.D.), Dr. Golden served as an active duty officer in the United States Marine Corps (1963-1966). Prior to becoming President of Fontbonne University in 1995, Dr. Golden held the position of Senior Student Affairs Officer at Framingham State College, Duquesne University and the University of Louisville.
In service to higher education, Dr. Golden has been a member of numerous college and university accreditation teams. He has written, published and consulted about law and higher education, executive leadership, enrollment management, strategic planning, student affairs, intercollegiate athletics, community service and the presidency. In addition, he has a national reputation regarding pluralism and diversity.
Growth & Success
Dr. Golden has led Fontbonne through a period of significant growth and success. During his tenure he has overseen numerous accomplishments in collaboration with the Fontbonne community, including:
- Improving the strategic planning process and inclusive budgeting process;
- Investing $32 million in capital improvements, including renovations to the Dunham Student Activity Center, The Charles Jeffers Glik Testing Center, the Eardley Family Clinic for Speech-Language-Hearing, Anheusur-Busch Hall, and the Fine Arts Building;
- Leading two capital campaigns: “Vision and Vitality” and “Now…More than Ever,” both of which met the campaign goals of $15 million and $20 million, respectively;
- Revising Fontbonne’s core documents, and adding a Statement of Catholic Identity;
- Expanding the donor base, including achieving a 100% contribution rate by full-time faculty and staff to the capital campaign, and increasing the endowment;
- Establishment and funding of the first endowed chair, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Endowed Chair in Catholic Thought;
- Establishment of unique academic and community-enriching programs, including the Dedicated Semester concept, the Bosnian Memory Project Assessment, and the Mustard Seed Theatre;
- Implementing campus-wide assessment of general education, programs of study, and institutional support of learning goals;
- Growth in enrollment in traditional programs, international programs, and programs for adult learners have resulted in the hiring of more full-time faculty, expanded informational technology services, and athletic programs; and
- Leading two successful Higher Learning Commission accreditations.
The President of Fontbonne University is the chief executive and administrative officer of the institution and reports directly to the Board of Trustees. Reporting to the President are: the Executive Vice President for Strategy & Operations, Vice President & Dean for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Finance & Administration, and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Also serving as members of the Office of the President and reporting to the Executive Vice President are the Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Enrollment Management, and the Vice President for Information Technology. Also reporting to the President are an Assistant to the President for Mission Integration and the Executive Assistant to the President.
OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES
The significant opportunities and challenges for the next President include:
- Being an entrepreneurial and transformative leader of the Fontbonne community; leading an inclusive, forward-thinking, student-centered, collaborative visioning and strategic planning process to moves the University to its next level of excellence;
- Overseeing the development and execution of a strategic admissions and retention plan to improve enrollment – both quantity and academic quality – and student retention;
- Passionately committing to external relations work to build new partnerships with the St. Louis business community; embracing the role as the public face of Fontbonne by promoting Fontbonne locally, regionally, and nationally; increasing engagement with the University’s valued alumni base;
- Enthusiastically and strategically pursuing new resources – through both friend raising and fundraising – particularly to expand the campus and grow the endowment; laying the groundwork in preparation for the next capital campaign;
- Stabilizing and enhancing the University at the senior administrative level by retaining, promoting, and hiring outstanding leaders who will serve the institution well into the future; strengthening the level of communication between the President’s Cabinet and Board of Trustees and the faculty, staff, and students;
- Working with faculty and staff to understand, appreciate, and celebrate their value and commitment to the institution; supporting the faculty in their desire to strengthen and grow Fontbonne’s academic programs;
- Leading the Fontbonne community to make forward-thinking decisions concerning budget and finance tied to strategic planning in a continued spirit of openness and transparency;
- Thinking creatively and strategically about the University’s future as influenced by the rapidly changing and increasingly technological higher education landscape;
- Exploring creative opportunities to expand the physical campus; enhancing the existing facilities by completing a cycle of building renovations begun in 1999 and improving student housing; and
- Being a visible, accessible, and participative member of the campus community; promoting and enhancing Fontbonne’s commitment to “fostering excellence, integrity, respect, diversity, community, justice, service, faith and Catholic identity;”
The Board of Trustees and Fontbonne University community seek an experienced, visionary and inspirational leader with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of higher education who embraces the University’s mission, vision, values and Catholic identity and who:
- Has a proven record of success in senior management and leadership experience, either in higher education and/or in a corporate environment;
- Has the ability to be an entrepreneurial agent of change and futurist while valuing Fontbonne’s foundational traditions and history;
- Has the ability and strong commitment to articulate, the mission, vision, and values of the Fontbonne community, including its Catholic heritage and identity; and is a practicing Roman Catholic.
- Has strong financial acumen; is strategic and creative in budgeting and finances; understands the challenges and complexities of a tuition-driven institution;
- Has experience with visioning, developing, and implementing a strategic plan through a process that is inclusive, forward-thinking, and collegial;
- Has a proven track record with, and strong commitment to, external resource development, including fundraising and new and creative revenue generation;
- Models a passionate belief in servant leadership, student-centered learning, inclusion, community, and education of the whole person; demonstrates engagement, passion, energy and involvement; has the desire and ability to build personal and lasting relationship with all constituencies;
- Displays strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills; has the desire and ability to work transparently, collaboratively and collegially with a diverse community including the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community;
- Preferably has strong connections to, and an understanding of, the greater St. Louis community; has the ability to quickly connect with the business, philanthropic, and non-profit leaders in St. Louis and Eastern Missouri; and
- Preferably holds a terminal degree from an accredited institution of higher education.