Saint Mary’s College of California seeks a highly experienced, innovative, and people-first leader who is deeply committed to the values embodied in the Lasallian, Catholic, and liberal arts traditions to serve as its next President.
The next president will join Saint Mary’s College at a pivotal moment. The College will look to the president for vision and leadership to advance the Transformation 2028 strategic plan, ensure the institution’s financial stability, strengthen organizational effectiveness, elevate Lasallian Catholic values, bolster student enrollment, and advance the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB).
From its earliest days, Saint Mary’s has been committed to making exemplary education accessible to all. When Joseph Alemany, San Francisco’s inaugural archbishop, first conceived of the college in the 1850s, he envisioned an affordable school for the children of working people of the rugged West. This was the mission inscribed into the cornerstone of the first campus, laid on August 3, 1862: “for the instruction of the youth of California, not in literature merely, but what is greater, in true Christian knowledge.” For 160 years, Saint Mary’s has emphasized service, pursued justice—social, economic, and racial—and developed respectful partnerships with underserved communities. Saint Mary’s has engaged tens of thousands of students in an intellectually rigorous, transformative whole-person experience. Each generation of faculty and staff has encouraged a culture of collective inquiry and innovative thinking that spills out of its East Bay classrooms and into the wider world.
The Lasallian Catholic heritage supports a truly transformative education, both for the individual and the society around them, and is part of the essential nature of Saint Mary’s College. The College’s foundation is built on the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle (1651 – 1719), founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and patron saint of teachers. The Lasallian mission is shared by students, De La Salle Christian Brothers, faculty, and staff in 82 countries, and in the United States, Lasallian communities are guided by the five Lasallian Core Principles: Faith in the Presence of God, Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, Quality Education, Inclusive Community, and Respect for All Persons.
Today 2,003 undergraduate, 762 graduate students, and 54,620 living alumni call themselves Gaels. Undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the School of Liberal Arts, School of Science, and School of Economics and Business and Administration, while the Kalmanovitz School of Education is renowned as one of the Bay Area’s top graduate schools. Programs range from bachelor’s to doctoral, with 52 undergraduate-level programs, 29 graduate-level programs, and 10 certificates. Saint Mary’s has been classified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) since 2015 with 27% of our students identifying as Latinx. The College is supported by a FY 24 operating budget of $202.7 million and an endowment of $168.6 million (as of June 30, 2023).
The College’s beautiful Bay Area campus is nestled in the rolling hills of Moraga, just 23 miles east of San Francisco. Saint Mary’s College of California is an inclusive and supportive community where faculty guide Gaels to learn and explore. Saint Mary’s offers small class sizes—with a 9:1 student/faculty ratio— and professors know students by name. Saint Mary’s has earned a spot in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top five regional universities in the West. Through internships in Silicon Valley and beyond, and with ample hands-on research opportunities, students gain real-world experience. Saint Mary’s fields 18 men’s and women’s NCAA-Division 1 teams, competing at the highest level as the only liberal arts college in the West Coast Conference.
In its deep commitment to the Lasallian tradition of inclusive communities, Saint Mary’s is creating a community that goes beyond the tolerance of differences to one guided by the Gospel’s call to love, which is expressed in social justice, cultural competence, and engaged citizenship. Saint Mary’s faculty, staff, and students celebrate diverse cultures and backgrounds. In fall 2022 and based on self-reported race/ethnicity data, 57% of traditional undergraduates were from diverse backgrounds, while nearly one-third of students are Pell recipients. In addition, 27% of full-time faculty and 29% of full-time staff were from diverse backgrounds.
Saint Mary’s College of California earns a special place in the prestigious guidebook Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. The publication identifies colleges that offer life-transforming educational experiences. Saint Mary’s is the only Catholic college and the only California college in the history of the 40-school list.
Qualified candidates should have demonstrated leadership experience in an organization of comparable size and scale and have a deep appreciation for an academic environment of excellence. The ideal candidate must have an astute understanding of higher education trends, particularly as they relate to smaller, private institutions, and a strong ability to develop and activate growth strategies and diversify revenue streams. Candidates should have a record of transparent and ethical decision-making rooted in values and principles in alignment with Saint Mary’s mission and be willing to make difficult decisions. They must have the enthusiasm for and capacity to raise philanthropic funds. Consistent with Saint Mary’s mission and values, the successful candidate must fully embrace the Lasallian Catholic tradition which views education as transformative, and with it comes the deep responsibility to improve the world. The new president will have a demonstrated track record of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for students, faculty, and staff.
Saint Mary’s expects to pay in the range of $425,000–$525,000. In addition to competitive benefits, the College provides a presidential home located on the Saint Mary’s campus.
WittKieffer is assisting Saint Mary’s in this search. All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the profile, available at wittkieffer.com.
For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by January 26, 2024. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.
Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:
Suzanne Teer, Melody Rose, Ph.D., Alejandra Gillette-Teran
In compliance with applicable law and its own policy, Saint Mary’s College of California is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse student and employee population and does not discriminate in its admission of students, hiring of employees, or in the provision of its employment benefits to its employees and its educational programs, activities, benefits and services to its students, including but not limited to scholarship and loan programs, on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, medical condition, physical or mental disability.