Saint Leo University President Announces

August 20, 2014

On August 19, 2014, Dr. Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., announced that he plans to retire as Saint Leo University president, after the 2014-2015 academic year.

Former president of Keuka College in upstate New York, Dr. Kirk joined Saint Leo College as its eighth president in January 1997. Under his leadership, Saint Leo College evolved to become Saint Leo University and has grown to be a vibrant and ever-expanding institution that is committed to its student-centered mission and the core values of community, respect, responsible stewardship, excellence, personal development, and integrity.

During Dr. Kirk’s presidency, Saint Leo’s study body has grown from 7,403 to 16,450 with record enrollments nearly every year. The number of full-time faculty members has more than quadrupled to more than 240 and the number of degree programs has grown from 22 to 48, including the university’s first terminal degree offering, the Doctor of Business Administration. Also during his tenure, the university founded the innovative Center for Online Learning, which serves students all over the world. By Fall 2015, the University Campus in Saint Leo, FL, will have expanded by 11 new buildings, in addition to three recent renovations over the course of 13 years, adding more than 70 acres and nearly 1 million square feet of new facilities.

Reflecting on his nearly 18 years at Saint Leo University, Dr. Kirk said, “While presidents often get credit for success, I am most proud of those at Saint Leo who embraced our mission, practiced our values, and pursued our vision, never fearing change, and worked tirelessly to create a successful and sustainable university for the 21st century. The faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and friends have all been an integral part of what stands today as the third largest Catholic university in America. Perhaps most of all, I will miss the students. They stand as role models by practicing our core values while on campus and then living them in the world as alumni. Saint Leo University is not about a president; it is the collective seeking each day to go from good to great. I will miss leading and working with such a wonderful collection of men and women with purpose.”

Working with Witt/Keiffer, a leading executive search firm that specializes in higher education, the Saint Leo Board of Trustees has formed a committee and is conducting a nationwide search for a new university president.

“One of Dr. Kirk’s great leadership strengths is building strong teams,” said Cindy Brannen, chair of the Board of Trustees. “That legacy allows us to move forward with excellent people in faculty and staff roles, ready to continue the mission and momentum at Saint Leo. The Board of Trustees takes seriously its role in finding the next leader for these dedicated people and most importantly for our students. The university can never repay Dr. Kirk for all he has done at Saint Leo, but we will start by working diligently to appoint a president who shares the university’s commitment to its mission, values, and vision, and embraces his legacy of hard work and dedication.”