Santa Clara University Appoints Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D, President


SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Santa Clara University today announced that Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D., current president of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, one of the nation’s top 20 Catholic universities, has been named the 30and president of Santa Clara University. Dr Sullivan will become the first lay person and first woman to serve as president of the 171-year-old Jesuit Catholic institution. Selected unanimously by the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees following a national search, Dr. Sullivan will assume the role on July 1, 2022.

“This is a historic moment for Santa Clara University as we welcome Dr. Sullivan as our next president,” said Larry Sonsini, chair of the Santa Clara University board of trustees. “In Dr. Sullivan, we have found a proven leader and faithful servant uniquely suited to lead Santa Clara University in our quest for a more humane, fairer, and more sustainable world. With extensive higher education leadership experience spanning more than three decades, Dr. Sullivan brings strong academic and financial credentials to Santa Clara University. Additionally, he is a person of demonstrated faith who has dedicated much of his career to service rooted in justice and care for the whole person.

As the incoming president of Santa Clara University, Dr. Sullivan will be tasked with continuing the institution’s deep-rooted Jesuit and Catholic traditions while successfully navigating the growing complexity of running an educational institution. higher ranked nationally. As President of the University of St. Thomas, where she served for nearly nine years, Dr. Sullivan is highly regarded for her role in bringing about the transformation of the University of St. Thomas from a small liberal arts college to a comprehensive school. urban university. During his tenure, the University of St. Thomas campus underwent a physical transformation with new facilities and renovations, established the Morrison Family College of Health and new School of Nursing, launched the Dougherty Family College, a new two-year pathway with progression to a bachelor’s degree for historically underrepresented students, raised more than $100 million in new scholarships and completed the college’s historic transition from Division III to athletics DI, among many other stages.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen as the next president of Santa Clara University, a true national leader in higher education,” Sullivan said. “Throughout my career, I have witnessed the transformation that occurs when you develop not only informed, but loyal and compassionate citizens of the world. At Santa Clara University, I found a rich home in history and prepared for the future, with its strong social conscience, a distinctive driver of tomorrow’s innovations. I look forward to getting to know the Bronco family – students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni – and to engage with all heart, mind and spirit in the work ahead.

Intensive and meticulous process

Today’s announcement follows a national search that included 149 nominations and 58 applications from people representing a wide range of backgrounds, institutions and fields. Comprising both Jesuit and lay candidates, the diverse candidate pool has created a new opportunity for Santa Clara University to recruit highly experienced candidates with strong leadership credentials and deep operational, financial, and academic acumen. .

“We welcome Dr. Sullivan to Santa Clara University with tremendous excitement and anticipation,” said Matthew Carnes, SJ, vice chairman of the Santa Clara Board of Trustees and chairman of the presidential search committee. “It is an extraordinary time for a leader of Dr. Sullivan’s qualifications to join our community, and the Search Committee and Board of Trustees have seen his creativity and enormous potential to strengthen the interconnectedness of our Jesuit mission with the world around us. His thoughtful and engaging leadership style, insightful decision-making, proven business skills, and ability to create a culture of mutual trust, respect, and inclusion will be instrumental in driving Santa Clara University forward. Not only is Dr. Sullivan a wonderful leader and an intelligent administrator, but she is also a person of integrity who is deeply committed to the principles of Catholic social teaching.

In June 2021, the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees updated the University’s statutes to remove the requirement that its president must be a Jesuit priest. The search committee included 13 people representing faculty, staff, alumni, the board of trustees, and the Jesuit community. Throughout the extensive process, the search committee sought input from thousands of stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff, to inform the credentials needed for the next University President. To learn more about the search process, please visit

Accomplished leader with an Ignatian heart

With the appointment of the first layman and the first female president, Santa Clara University ushers in a new era. But for Dr. Sullivan, it is an honor and a responsibility she has already fulfilled, as the first lay and first female president of the University of St. Thomas for nearly nine years. Prior to joining the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Sullivan was executive vice president and provost of the University of San Diego, a private Catholic university. An internationally recognized and award-winning researcher and educator in accounting, finance and taxation, Dr. Sullivan has extensive business and financial expertise with nearly 20 years of service on public company boards and 15 years of on the boards of directors of private companies covering several sectors. As one of the most nationally recognized leaders in Catholic higher education, she was recently elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for the 2022-2024 term.

Among the priorities highlighted during the research process was the need for the next president of Santa Clara University to define a compelling and distinctive vision for its future grounded in Jesuit and Catholic mission and values. Dr. Sullivan has spent most of the past 17 years serving Catholic higher education, with a background and drive aligned with the purpose, identity, and mission of Santa Clara University. She is a leader within the Ashoka Changemaker movement, which empowers young people to be agents of change in their communities and has been a champion in dismantling racism and building belonging, promoting environmental sustainability and creating opportunity and economic inclusion through education, especially among first generation and students of color.

A warm welcome

Dr. Sullivan was unanimously recommended by the search committee and unanimously approved by the Trustees of the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees, both of whom are served by members of the Jesuit community. To celebrate this historic moment, Sean Carroll, SJ, provincial of the Society of Jesus West, commented: “In the spirit of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuit community seeks to find God in all things and in all humanity. . For centuries, our lay colleagues have played an essential role in our mission and our faith, continuing our commitment to be people for and with others. Throughout his career, Dr. Sullivan has led service to others, living our Catholic teachings in word and deed. As our world around us continues to change, we embrace and welcome Dr. Sullivan in this most critical leadership role and offer him and his family our prayers and support on their journey ahead.

Dr. Sullivan is married to Robert (Bob) Sullivan. Together they have five children and nine grandchildren. A native of Florida, Dr. Sullivan holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in taxation and a doctorate. in business from the University of Florida. To learn more about Dr. Sullivan, please visit

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the most innovative and entrepreneurial region in the world. The University’s beautifully landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has one of the best four-year graduation rates in the country and is ranked by PayScale in the top 1% of universities with the highest paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the program combines high-tech innovation with a social conscience rooted in the tradition of Jesuit Catholic education. For more information, see


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