Benedictine president recognized with diversity award
Benedictine University President William J. Carroll has been named a recipient of an INSIGHT Into Diversity Visionary Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to diversity in higher education and who have made an indelible mark in broadening diversity and inclusion at their college or university.
INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education today, connecting potential employees with institutions and businesses choosing to embrace a workforce more reflective of local and national communities for nearly 40 years.
The award acknowledges Carroll for his "vision, dedication and long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion." During his tenure at Benedictine, Carroll has founded the annual the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast; established free degree programs for first responders and the Illinois unemployed; formed partnerships with universities in Asia, where students from Benedictine and Asian campuses can exchange and study; and has been a leading architect in making Benedictine University one of the most diverse campuses in the country as recognized by U.S. News & World Report.
Carroll became the 10th president of Benedictine University in July 1995. Under his leadership, Benedictine has grown from a small local college to a university with regional, national and international reach.
During Carroll's tenure, master's degree programs and two doctoral programs were introduced. Benedictine also established branch campuses in Springfield and in Mesa, Arizona, under his watch.
The university expanded into Naperville in 2006 with the opening of the Margaret and Harold Moser Center for Adult and Professional Studies. In 2004, Benedictine formed partnerships with Shenyang University of Technology and Shenyang Jianzhu University to offer Benedictine master's degree programs in China.
Other initiatives include launching an Interfaith Cooperation Committee to ensure campus religious diversity while remaining faithful to the university's Catholic and Benedictine heritage. The 2013-14 academic year also was spent in cooperation with Interfaith Youth Core, who assessed campus interreligious diversity with a survey and focus groups of faculty, staff and students, providing recommendations that will serve as the core of a new interreligious diversity plan.
Opportunities that allow students to explore and appreciate different cultures at Benedictine include the Catholic-Muslim Student Dialogue group, where students of both faiths come together in a respectful atmosphere to discuss the Bible and the Quran and religious issues and customs; the Intercultural House, a special residence hall where students are randomly assigned and encouraged to interact with a roommate with contrasting life experiences; as well as several interfaith dinners, cross-cultural events and dozens of study abroad opportunities.
Carroll took a pragmatic approach to helping students and their families during the nation's financial crisis in 2008, recommending that the school's board of trustees adopt a tuition freeze and supporting the "Displaced Earner Program," which provided additional financial and other assistance to students whose parents lost their jobs during the crisis.
New campus facilities -- including the Kindlon Hall of Learning, Birck Hall of Science, Founders' Woods apartments and the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex -- have been constructed during Carroll's presidency.
Recently, the university broke ground on the 125,000-square-foot Daniel Goodwin Hall of Business, scheduled to open in the fall 2015.
Benedictine's enrollment includes a diverse student body where about 24 percent of students surveyed indicated a religious preference toward Islam. Enrollment has grown significantly during Carroll's tenure, from fewer than 3,000 students when he arrived to more than 10,000 today.
The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked Benedictine University as the No. 1 fastest-growing campus in the country among private nonprofit research universities between 2002-12.
Carroll earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Scranton, and a master's and doctorate from the Catholic University of America. Prior to coming to Benedictine, he held several positions at Ohio Dominican College, including vice president for academic affairs, acting president and executive vice president.