Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., during his annual President's Address Thursday afternoon will announce his intent to retire on June 30, 2011, or whenever a successor is appointed, whichever comes later.
Father Wild, noting that he will turn 70 later this month, informed the Board of Trustees of his intent at yesterday's meeting.
"I would not even contemplate my own retirement even after 15 years if Marquette wasn't in such a good place, and if we didn't have lots of talented leadership in place to support my successor," he said. Father Wild said the board will seek a Jesuit for the presidency, in accordance with university bylaws.
Board Chair Darren Jackson, Bus Ad '86, said the Board of Trustees has elected a search committee, which will be led by Mary Ellen Stanek, Arts Ď78, the immediate past chair of the trustees and managing director and director of asset management for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. Other members of the trustee committee include: Natalie A. Black, Law '78; James P. Flaherty, S.J., Arts '78; Richard J. Fotsch, Eng Ď77, Grad '84; John J. Stollenwerk, Sp Ď62, Grad '66; Charles M. Swoboda, Eng '89; and Cherryl T. Thomas, Arts '68.
Jackson said he would be communicating with the campus community about the search process early next week.
In remarks prepared for his speech, Father Wild praised the efforts of faculty and staff, saying it has been "an honor and blessing to walk this journey with each of you and with our students."
The President's Address will begin at 3 p.m. in the Weasler auditorium.
I had hoped to make this announcement in person during my Presidentís Address this afternoon, but the media have ways of finding things out, so we are moving up this message in the hope that you will hear first from me about my intentions. With more than 2,700 employees, I knew I would not be able to reach everyone in any event, but I wanted to share my news first here on campus. I hope youíll still attend this afternoonís speech to hear the annual update on the university Ė and my plans for the next 15 months.
I know people have been speculating about the possibility of my retirement for some time now. In fact, I laugh when I recall the Journal Sentinel editorial board asking me about that last year. At the time, I said I had a lot left to do, the energy to do it and I was still having fun. Thatís still true, but I want to leave before I canít say those things with such certainty. Be assured that this is my decision alone; itís simply the right time. I believe the university today is positioned well to attract a highly qualified Jesuit to succeed me.
From my first days at Marquette as a faculty member to my time on the Board of Trustees to the past 14 years as your president, I have recognized the spirit and sense of mission that make Marquette a very special place. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together since 1996. I am confident I am leaving the university in a position of strength, both financially and academically, with positive momentum in fundraising, in faculty research, in our ability to draw students and in our service to our community and beyond. Thank you for your support and, most importantly, for your efforts every day to meet the needs of our students.
I do not want this to sound like a valedictory. After all, I intend to be here for the next 15 months, and I have a lot to accomplish in that time, beginning with the naming of new deans in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and our many fundraising initiatives. I look forward to seeing you at our all-campus events and just in my walks around campus and to having you share your thoughts and memories with me.
In the days ahead, youíll be hearing more from our Board of Trustees about the search for a new president and how you can be involved. We value your input and encourage your participation. Please join me in prayer as the search committee begins its important work, that their efforts will be fruitful in drawing a very talented 23rd president to Marquette.
I wish Godís continued blessings on you and those close to you and on all members of our Marquette family.
Bob Wild, S.J.
President, Marquette University