Benedictine chooses interim president for permanent role

Benedictine University in Lisle has concluded its search for a president by hiring interim President Charles W. Gregory to take the job on a permanent basis.

Gregory becomes the 12th president in the private, Catholic university's 132-year history, succeeding Michael Brophy, who resigned last August after arriving in 2015.

University leaders said Gregory is "experienced and respected" after a career with the school that began in 1997 and has included roles as executive vice president of the main campus and CEO of the branch in Mesa, Arizona.

"He brings a track record of exceptional leadership, a deep commitment to the values we cherish and an infectious passion for success," James L. Melsa, chairman of Benedictine's board of trustees, said in a news release Tuesday.

Gregory is a native of Franklin, Kentucky, who started his career as a teacher, but moved into administrative roles in financial aid, admissions, enrollment and student services at institutions including Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, Nashville State Community College and Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.

He has a bachelor's degree in science from Austin Peay State University and a master's degree in education from Cumberland University. Last year, Benedictine recognized Gregory with an honorary doctorate degree.

"It is truly an honor and privilege to become the 12th president of Benedictine University," Gregory said in a written statement. "This university has been my family for more than 20 years and to know I will continue working alongside so many talented and dedicated faculty and staff is incredibly rewarding."

With Gregory's selection, Benedictine chooses a candidate whose experience includes instrumental roles in projects such as building the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business building and the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex; opening the Arizona branch campus in 2012; and growing enrollment by 132 percent between 2002 and 2012, which helped earn the title of "No. 1 fastest-growing campus in the country among private, nonprofit doctoral institutions" from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

When Gregory became interim president in August, university officials said their search for a permanent officeholder likely would take between six and nine months. Officials had begun negotiating the resignation of Gregory's successor, Brophy, in July, despite a contract with Brophy that had extended to 2022.

Brophy, whom the university hired from Marymount California University to replace longtime President William Carroll, stepped down to spend a year researching leadership in higher education.

University board Chairman Melsa called Gregory's hiring as permanent president "a pivotal moment" and "one full of extraordinary possibilities to enhance this institution."

Gregory also said he sees the potential of his new position to advance relationships with alumni, parents, students and community leaders.

"I want Benedictine to be the best place for students to receive an education," he said, "so they can realize their dreams."

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