Benedictine president to retire

  • William J. Carroll

    William J. Carroll

Daily Herald report
Updated 1/12/2015 9:36 PM

The president of Benedictine University, William J. Carroll, announced Monday afternoon that he plans to retire in December, school officials said.

Carroll, who has led the school for more than two decades, is credited with spearheading innovations that led the school to be named the fastest-growing university in the country since 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the school said in a news release. "When I started this journey in 1995, the school was on the cusp of closing," Carroll said in a statement. "Enrollment was down and the University was embroiled in racial tensions and open hostility.


"Today, with class sites in China, Vietnam, Arizona and throughout Illinois, we are the fastest-growing university in the country with nearly 10,000 students worldwide, have a host of remarkably dedicated and compassionate faculty and staff, and the University is recognized as one of the most diverse and welcoming in the country," he said.

University officials plan to conduct a national search for Carroll's replacement. Carroll will help the university through the transition to a new leader.

"He is an outstanding leader and we are very grateful for his 20 years of service to the BenU community," said Will Gillett, outgoing chair of Benedictine's board of trustees, in a statement.

A cornerstone of Carroll's presidency was exposing students to varying viewpoints by teaching students how to think, not what to think, school officials said. He did so by hosting national and international speakers of diverse beliefs and backgrounds.

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Among his greatest accomplishments is the upcoming fall 2015 opening of the new Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business.

Campus improvements projects during his tenure include: the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, parking garage, Founders' Woods apartments, Birck Hall of Science, Kindlon Hall of Learning, and Rice Center and Neff Welcome Center renovations.

Carroll also worked to expand programs, services and technology including the Office of International Programs and Services, the Center for Civic Leadership, the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, the National Moser Center for Adult Learning and the creation of branch campuses in Springfield, Ill., and Mesa, Ariz., school officials said.

Carroll attributes his successes to those who came before him: the monks, other founders of the university, and those who set out to achieve excellence in education while serving God and others.

"All that has been accomplished in these 20 years is because of what it means to be Benedictine," Carroll said in a statement. "Setting high goals and achieving them, then not being complacent but rather continuing to look into the future while not forgetting those who helped you get there. Welcoming the stranger with open arms to build peace and understanding, making student success our main focus and doing what is right -- not what is necessarily profitable.

"That's what it means to be Benedictine," he said.

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