March 21, 2017 -- The Neumann University Board of Trustees announced today that Dr. Chris E. Domes, current president of Silver Lake College in Wisconsin, has been named the sixth president of Neumann University. He will take office on July 1, 2017.
His appointment ends a seven-month search for the successor to Dr. Rosalie M. Mirenda, who announced on August 1, 2016, that she would retire at the end of the current academic year. Dr. Mirenda has been Neumann's president for 21 years and has served in various capacities at the University for 44 years.
"Dr. Domes has an impressive record of accomplishment that spans 31 years in higher education,” said James Delaney, chairperson of the Neumann University Board of Trustees. “He has led initiatives in strategic planning, fundraising, academic program expansion, enrollment management, community relations, technology access, and campus growth but most of all, he is a proponent of Catholic Franciscan education.”
Mr. Delaney explained that the search process was rigorous and thorough. “Despite interest from many very qualified candidates, the University Board of Trustees was unanimous in its selection of Dr. Domes, and the Congregational leadership of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia affirmed his appointment.” Mr. Delaney added, “It was Chris’ extensive experience in Catholic higher education coupled with his authentic understanding and modeling of our Catholic Franciscan identity that makes our Board fully confident in his ability to lead Neumann University.”
“Words cannot express our gratitude to Dr. Rosalie Mirenda for her dedication to Neumann University, said Mr. Delaney. “Her legacy will live on for generations in the lives she has touched and transformed, and the service she has given to Neumann University, the Catholic faithful in the Philadelphia region and the higher education community in the U.S.”
Similar to Neumann University, Silver Lake College is a Catholic Franciscan college that offers undergraduate programs in a School of Liberal Arts, School of Professional Studies, and School of Education. The curriculum also includes programs for working professionals and students pursuing graduate studies in Business and Education. The student body is among the most diverse in Wisconsin.
Since Dr. Domes took the helm of the Wisconsin school four years ago, Silver Lake College has opened a Franciscan Center for Music and Performance, a one-stop Enrollment and Welcome Center, and state of the art Nursing labs and classrooms. The college also developed new academic programs, including Actuary Science, Graphic Design, Nursing, and a master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Development.
During his tenure there, full-time undergraduate enrollment rose 52% and annual giving increased by 64%.
"I am tremendously grateful to the Neumann University Board of Trustees and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for placing their trust in me to succeed Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, a nationally respected leader in Catholic higher education. I know that I have big shoes to fill, and I am eager to build on her legacy at Neumann," he said.
“During my visits to campus,” he continued, “I was struck by the energy and passion for the mission of Neumann University. Together with the Neumann community, I am confident that we will continue to meet the unique opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Anchored by its Catholic Franciscan mission, Neumann University has a bright future. My wife Mary and I are looking forward to serving and participating fully in the life of Neumann University.”
Dr. Domes believes that presidential leadership "requires reflective and thoughtful communication, followed by mission-centered decision-making and coupled with a high level of transparency. I look forward to building mutually beneficial relationships with every segment of the Neumann family."
Before serving as president of Silver Lake College, Dr. Domes held leadership positions in various enrollment management and student development capacities for 17 years at Marymount University in Virginia and for a decade at St. Bonaventure University in New York. Silver Lake College and St. Bonaventure University are Catholic Franciscan institutions.
At Marymount University, he rose from dean of admission to vice president for student development and enrollment management. He expanded the use of technology in admissions and spearheaded a 40% growth of the freshman class in three years. At St. Bonaventure, he had similar success in improving marketing, recruitment and retention.
Dr. Domes holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University, and two degrees from St. Bonaventure University: an M.S.Ed. in Counseling Psychology and a B.A. in History and Secondary Education.