Holy cross

Holy Cross will hire a first president outside the Congregation of Holy Cross // The Observer

With the retirement of Holy Cross College President Fr. David Tyson in June, the college is in the process of choosing a new president.

The two final candidates, Brian Schmisek and Marco Clark, have experience working with Catholic universities. Whoever is selected will be the first president of the college not to be a member of the Congrégation de Sainte-Croix.

Board members John Gschwind and Calvin Colbert said the selection process was a significant effort by the Holy Cross Presidential Search Committee with a diverse set of input into decisions.

“[The committee] I really wanted to make this a very engaged and comprehensive effort to bring together all the key stakeholders, because I think the board, and I think Calvin [Colbert] and I in particular think this is kind of a very significant, almost transformational event for the college,” said Gschwind, who chaired the search committee.

When reviewing the nominations, Gschwind said the committee agreed that Holy Cross’s mission was the primary consideration.

“The person we are going to hire will be very aligned with the mission of the Holy Cross congregation for this college,” he said.

Emilee Skidgel, Holy Cross student body president who served on the committee, said she knew from the start of the search that they would be looking for priests and laity as candidates because Holy Cross’s constitution does not require whether the president is a priest or a brother. .

Colbert explained that the decision to choose a member outside the congregation as president stemmed from a shortage of brothers and priests available to serve as president.

“Ideally, obviously, we’d like someone who was clergy,” Colbert said. “But clergy have different missions, different interests, and different ministries.”

Skidgel said the committee hired a selection firm to help them with the process. The company sent more than two representatives in November who visited the college and attended numerous open forums to assess what it is like to be a saint.

After applications opened, the search committee received 52 complete applications, Colbert said.

In addition to aligning with Holy Cross’s mission, Gschwind and Colbert said they wanted someone who could grow the college, develop a strategic plan, and improve the student experience.

“We want Holy Cross College to be self-sustaining,” Gschwind said.

Skidgel said she is confident in the committee’s choices and believes the two final nominees are highly qualified and would bring “a lot of good to the college.”

The finalists

Gschwind said the two finalists for president are highly qualified to take on the role.

“I speak for myself, I think both are very mission driven, tick all the boxes,” he said.

Schmisek is currently Provost and Dean of Faculties at Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota and has held this position since 2019. At Saint Mary’s, his role is to “provide academic vision, leadership, direction, and evaluation for all activities academic and faculty affairs. of the University.” He previously served at Loyola University Chicago as a professor and dean of the Institute of Pastoral Studies and at the University of Dallas as the founding dean of their School of Ministry.

Schmisek is from North Dakota and is also passionate about making theological materials available to a lay audience. He is married to Marnie Schmisek, and together they have four children.

Clark has 33 years of experience in Catholic teaching and 25 years of experience working alongside the Brethren of the Holy Cross. He is currently Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University, based in Texas. In his work at St. Edward’s, Clark “provides leadership support to the 120 Holy Cross schools around the world by conducting research, publishing resources and delivering programs to ensure their mission, identity and educational charism.

He is married to his wife Peggy Clark and together they have three children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Clark says he enjoys spending time outdoors and with his family.

The candidates are now in the final stages before the decision is made in the coming weeks. Schmisek and Clark have both visited the Holy Cross campus in person over the past week, where they met with the current president, board of trustees, faculty and students.

The committee will have several meetings over the next few weeks to make its final decision.

“When you think about hiring someone, in some ways it’s kind of like dating someone,” Colbert said. “We get to know them…but they also get to know us.”

As this will be a historic choice for the college, Skidgel said the committee did not make the decision lightly.

“All the members of the search committee entered it [looking for] the most qualified person,” Skidgel said. “I think we got that, so I think our job was done well and as best as we could have done.”

The article and title previously incorrectly referred to the Brethren of the Holy Cross as clergy. The brothers are not clergy. The Observer regrets this error.

Tags: Brothers of the Holy Cross, Br. Tyson, Holy Cross College