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Presidential Search

Past presidential search news

    March 10, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to continue 
    vetting semi-finalists

    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to continue the due diligence process of vetting semi-finalist candidates. The Presidential Search Committee will continue to work closely and confidentially with remaining candidates in a process of mutual discernment.

    Feb. 26, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to continue narrowing the candidate pool

    After receiving feedback from the Board of Trustees, the Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to continue narrowing the pool of candidates. The Presidential Search Committee will work closely and confidentially with remaining candidates in a continuing process of mutual discernment.

    Feb. 26, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates Board of Trustees
    The Presidential Search Committee provided an update on the search to the Board of Trustees at the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting, including activities since the last board meeting; a review of the candidate pool; and next steps in the process. The Board of Trustees provided counsel and feedback to the Presidential Search Committee.

    Feb. 20, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates Staff Assembly
    Presidential Search Committee member, Owen Sullivan, gave an update on the search process to the Staff Assembly. 

    Feb. 17, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to discuss pool of top candidates
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to continue discussing and refining the pool of top candidates.

    Feb. 15, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates the Parents Council 
    Presidential Search Committee member, Owen Sullivan, gave an update on the search process to the Parents Council when they were on campus for a meeting.

    Feb. 7, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates the University Leadership Council
    Presidential Search Committee member, Owen Sullivan, gave an update on the search process to the University Leadership Council. 

    Feb. 7, 2014 – Chair of the Presidential Search Committee shares an update on search progress with alumni and friends of the university
    John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, shared an update on the search process, outlined next steps, and thanked alumni and friends of the university for their continued support.

    Feb. 6, 2014 – Chair of the Presidential Search Committee shares an update on search progress with Marquette parents
    John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, shared an update on the search process with Marquette parents.

    Feb. 6, 2014 – Chair of the Presidential Search Committee shares an update on search progress with the campus community 
    John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, shared an update on the search process, outlined next steps and thanked the campus community for its continued support.

    Feb. 6, 2014 – Hear from Dennis Barden of Witt/Kieffer about the importance of confidentiality and why Marquette is well-positioned to compete for qualified presidential candidates
    In two new videos, Dennis Barden, senior partner at Witt/Kieffer, Marquette University's national executive search firm partner, discusses the importance of confidentiality during the search for Marquette's 24th president and why Marquette is well-positioned to compete for qualified candidates during a time when several Jesuit universities are conducting presidential searches.

    Feb. 3, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to determine pool of top candidates
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting on campus to continue the process of evaluating prospects. During the meeting, they narrowed the pool to top candidates. They also discussed the need for the Presidential Search Committee and Witt/Kieffer to continue to provide a high level of engagement with top candidates.

    Jan. 27, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates University Academic Senate
    Presidential Search Committee members Dr. William Cullinan, Patricia Cervenka and Owen Sullivan, gave an update on the search process to University Academic Senate at its Jan. 27 meeting. The committee members also asked University Academic Senate for input regarding potential interview questions for candidates.

    Jan. 20, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to discuss evaluating prospects
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to discuss presidential prospects and recruiting efforts, including beginning the process of evaluating prospects and narrowing the candidate pool. The committee also reviewed all presidential search communication to date and discussed upcoming communication milestones.

    Jan. 17, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee updates the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board
    Presidential Search Committee member, Pat Lawton, gave an update on the search process to the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board when they were on campus for a meeting. 

    Jan. 16, 2014 – Marquette Magazine features an update on the search for Marquette's 24th president
    The Winter 2014 issue of Marquette Magazine shared an update on the presidential search, including data on the decreasing number of U.S. Jesuits, the number of Jesuit universities currently search for a president, and the number of responses from the university community on the desired qualifications and characteristics of the next president. 

    Jan. 6, 2014 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to discuss recruiting prospects
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to discuss progress recruiting prospects, which is being done by national executive search firm Witt/Kieffer and all members of the Search Committee. The Search Committee will continue to actively recruit prospects and evaluate the prospect pool over the next several weeks.

    Dec. 19, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to discuss candidate pool
    The Presidential Search committee held a meeting in which it reviewed prospective candidates and discussed strategies for converting prospects to candidates. The Search Committee will continue to evaluate the candidate pool during the next six weeks.

    Dec. 11, 2013 – Presidential Position Description is shared with alumni
    The Presidential Position Description was shared with alumni via a letter from John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in the national alumni e-newsletter.

    Dec. 5, 2013 – Presidential Position Description is shared with faculty, staff and students
    The Presidential Position Description was shared with faculty, staff and students via a letter from John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in News Briefs.

    Dec. 5, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee shares Presidential Position Description with representatives of key stakeholder groups 
    The Presidential Search Committee hosted representatives from key stakeholder groups for lunch on Thursday, Dec. 5, to share the approved Presidential Position Description in advance of the Marquette community receiving it. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, shared how feedback from the university's constituent groups influenced the Presidential Position Description and outlined next steps in the search process.

    Invitees included: Dr. Marilyn Frenn, professor of nursing and chair of University Academic Senate; Dr. Tim Melchert, associate professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, vice chair of University Academic Senate and chair of Faculty Council; Lisa Olson, director of business operations in Information Technology Services and chair of University Staff Assembly; Rev. Jeff LaBelle, S.J., rector of the Jesuit Community; Sam Schultz, president of Marquette University Student Government; Mary O'Toole, Eng, '79, president of the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board; Katie Dillow, Bus Ad '00, incoming president of the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board; and Linda and Jim Sweet, Parents Council representatives. Dr. Kristina Ropella, executive associate dean in the College of Engineering, and Dr. Stephanie Quade, dean of students in the Office of Student Development, who served as co-facilitators for the 10 community input sessions held with university constituents, were also invited.

    Dec. 4, 2103 – Board of Trustees unanimously approves Presidential Position Description 
    The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Presidential Position Description, which the Search Committee wrote using the feedback provided in-person and online by more than 1,100 members of the Marquette community. The Presidential Position Description will be used to recruit the 24th president of Marquette University. The Board of Trustees also discussed the role of the Board during the search process, leading up to when it will elect the next president of Marquette.

    Dec. 3, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to discuss prospective candidates
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting to discuss candidate prospects and prepare for the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 4. National executive search firm Witt/Kieffer gave a presentation on prospective candidates and the process for building a competitive candidate pool. The board also discussed the search process, upcoming milestones and the Presidential Position Description in preparation for the Board of Trustees meeting.

    Nov. 25, 2013 – Marquette Matters feature on presidential search
    The cover story of the November/December 2013 issue of Marquette Matters, the university's printed faculty and staff newsletter, gave an update on the presidential search process to date, as well as future milestones.

    Nov. 18, 2013 – Chair of the Presidential Search Committee thanks Marquette community for sharing feedback
    John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, shared a message with faculty, staff and students in News Briefs, thanking them for sharing their input on the presidential search. More than 1,130 people have shared their feedback to date, which is more than twice as many as the last search.

    Nov. 18, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds meeting to review community input and draft Presidential Position Description 
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting in which it reviewed and discussed the themes and suggestions from the 10 community input sessions, as well as the online responses and Trustee feedback. Committee members reviewed, edited and approved a draft of the Presidential Position Description, and recommended it be shared with the Board of Trustees for approval. Copy for an advertisement to be used by Witt/Kieffer to recruit national candidates was approved. 

    Nov. 13, 2013 – Community input session with students
    The Presidential Search Committee held a community input session with students Wednesday, Nov. 13. Dr. Janis Orlowski, Eng '78, Trustee; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee. A representative from Witt/Kieffer was also present. Approximately 27 students attended.

    Nov. 12, 2013 – Community input session with faculty
    The Presidential Search Committee held a community input session with faculty Tuesday, Nov. 12. Dr. Janis Orlowski, Eng '78, Trustee; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee. A representative from Witt/Kieffer was also present. Approximately 40 faculty members attended.

    Nov. 11, 2013 – Community input session with staff 
    The Presidential Search Committee held a community input session with staff Monday, Nov. 11. Pat Lawton, Bus Ad '78, Grad '80, Trustee; Dr. Bill Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee. A representative from Witt/Kieffer was also present. Approximately 130 staff members attended.

    Nov. 6, 2013 – Community input session with Marquette University Alumni Association National Board
    The Presidential Search Committee held a community input session via phone with the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board on Wednesday, Nov. 6. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, Trustee and chair of the Search Committee; Rev. Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J., Trustee; Dr. Bill Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee.

    Nov. 6, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds first meeting with Witt/Kieffer 
    The Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting with search firm Witt/Kieffer to discuss the search process and timeline, upcoming key decisions, due diligence, building the pool of candidates and the need for confidentiality throughout the search to ensure the strongest candidates are able to participate.

    Nov. 5, 2013 – Community input sessions with University Leadership Council, Trustees Emeriti, Faculty Council and the Marquette Jesuit Community
    The Presidential Search Committee held three community input sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 5. At 9 a.m., a session was held with the University Leadership Council. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, chair of the Search Committee; Dr. Bill Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee.

    At noon, a community input session was held with Trustees Emeriti. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, chair of the Search Committee, attended the session as a representative of the Search Committee.

    At 3 p.m., a community input session was held with the Faculty Council. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, chair of the Search Committee; Dr. Bill Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee.

    At 7 p.m., a community input session was held with the Jesuit Community. John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, chair of the Search Committee; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee.

    A senior partner from Witt/Kieffer was present at all sessions.

    Nov. 4, 2013 - First community input session with University Academic Senate
    The Search Committee held the first of 10 community input sessions Monday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m. with University Academic Senate. Pat Lawton, Bus Ad ’78, Trustee; Dr. Bill Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences; and Patricia Cervenka, professor of law and director of the Law Library; attended the session as representatives of the Search Committee. A senior partner from Witt/Kieffer was also present at the session.

    Oct. 28, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds a meeting
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting in which it reviewed the experiences of other Catholic, Jesuit universities that have recently undergone a presidential search. The Search Committee also discussed outreach to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU); the format and timeline for the community input sessions; and the search communication plan. The Search Committee agreed to hire Witt/Kieffer as the executive search firm to assist in conducting the search.

    Oct. 24, 2013 – Online input form emailed to Marquette parents
    An update on the presidential search, including a link to the online input form, was emailed to all Marquette parents.

    Oct. 21, 2013 – Working group of Presidential Search Committee interviews search firm finalists
    A working group of the Presidential Search Committee conducted in-person interviews with search firms. Following the interviews, the working group recommended that the Presidential Search Committee hire Witt/Kieffer.

    Oct. 21, 2013 – Trustee and member of Presidential Search Committee attends a University Academic Senate meeting
    Owen Sullivan, a trustee and member of the Presidential Search Committee, attended the October University Academic Senate meeting to give an overview of the search process and a tentative timetable.

    Oct. 21, 2013 – Search Committee chair shares video, community input session dates and online feedback form
    John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, shared a video with the campus community asking for input on the search process by attending one of 10 community input sessions or sharing feedback via an online form. More than 500 responses were received via the online feedback form during the first 24 hours it was open.

    Oct. 16, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds a meeting
    The Presidential Search Committee held a meeting in which it discussed the process and timeline for the search and for selecting a national search firm to assist with the process. The Search Committee agreed to extend an RFP to select national executive search firms and interview semi-finalist firms via phone and finalists in person.

    Oct. 10, 2013 – Presidential Search Committee holds first meeting
    The Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting, and reviewed its purpose, objectives and charge. The charge of the Search Committee is to identify the best candidates – men and women – to serve as the 24th president of Marquette University and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Search Committee also discussed roles and responsibilities, as well as the search plan and timeline.

    Oct. 7, 2013 – Board of Trustees chair meets with MUSG leadership
    Board of Trustees Chair Charles M. Swoboda, Eng ’89, met with the president and executive vice president of MUSG to discuss students’ involvement in the presidential search process.

    Oct. 3, 2013 – Board of Trustees selects presidential search committee
    The Board of Trustees has announced the Presidential Search Committee, which is charged with making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees as to whom should be Marquette's 24th president. The Search Committee members are:

    • John Ferraro, Bus Ad ’77, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of the presidential search committee, global chief operating officer at Ernst & Young
    • Patricia Cervenka, Professor of law and director of the Law Library
    • Dr. William Cullinan, PT ’81, dean of the College of Health Sciences
    • Patrick Lawton, Bus Ad ’78, Grad ’80, Trustee, managing director, fixed income capital markets group, Robert W. Baird & Co.
    • Dr. Arnold Mitchem, Grad ’81, Trustee, retired president, Council for Opportunity in Education
    • Rev. Joseph O’Keefe, S.J., Trustee, professor of education at Boston College
    • Dr. Janis Orlowski, Eng ’78, Trustee, senior director, Health Care Affairs, American Association of Medical Colleges
    • Owen Sullivan, Arts ’79, Trustee, retired CEO of Right Management, Jefferson Wells, and president of specialty brands, ManpowerGroup

    This is the first search in Marquette's history to include a dean and a faculty member along with Board of Trustees members. The committee also includes deep academic leadership experience in Mitchem, who was formerly a faculty member in Marquette's history department and director of the Educational Opportunity Program; Father O'Keefe, who is a professor of education at Boston College and a former dean of the college's Lynch School of Education; and Orlowski, who served as associate vice president and executive dean of Rush University Medical School in Chicago.

    Sept. 26, 2013 – Chair of presidential search committee chosen
    The Board of Trustees has chosen John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, to chair the search committee for the next president of Marquette. Ferraro is the global chief operating officer for Ernst & Young, responsible for the overall operations of Ernst & Young worldwide. At the request of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Margaret Callahan, interim provost and dean of the College of Nursing, will continue in her role as interim provost until a provost search can be completed under a permanent president.


search committee

  • John Ferraro
    Bus Ad ’77, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, global chief operating officer at Ernst & Young
  • Patricia Cervenka
    Professor of law and director of the Law Library
  • Dr. William Cullinan
    PT ’81, dean of the College of Health Sciences
  • Patrick Lawton
    Bus Ad ’78, Grad ’80, Trustee, managing director, fixed income capital markets group, Robert W. Baird & Co.
  • Dr. Arnold Mitchem
    Grad ’81, Trustee, retired president,
    Council for Opportunity in Education
  • Rev. Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J.
    Trustee, professor of education at
    Boston College
  • Dr. Janis Orlowski
    Eng ’78, Trustee, senior director,
    Health Care Affairs, American Association of Medical Colleges
  • Owen Sullivan
    Arts ’79, Trustee, retired CEO of Right Management, Jefferson Wells, and president of specialty brands, ManpowerGroup

More search information


John Ferraro

The search for the next president of Marquette University

John F. Ferraro, Bus Ad '77, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and member of the Board of Trustees, discusses the search for Marquette's 24th president, including how the search will include Jesuit and lay candidates, opportunities for the Marquette community to provide feedback about presidential characteristics and qualifications, and why he is excited to lead the Presidential Search Committee.