As Saint Joseph’s College continues efforts to rebound from financial troubles that led to a suspension of activities on the Rensselaer campus, its board of trustees is about to undergo a major change. The college says the 24 current lay members will vacate their positions "in the coming months" to make way for a new board.
In a post on the college’s website, board says the decision to recreate the board has been discussed for months, "as many members of the Board expressed the need for a new Board that could implement a transition from a new perspective, allowing it to re-invent itself through the efforts of the Phoenix Project."
The college says six people will remain on the board to maintain the legal corporate status of the college and to guide it through the transition. They include the five Missionaries of the Precious Blood and Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.
Saint Joseph’s says the board’s bylaws require a nine-member board and three new lay members have already been named. An additional three to six new members are expected to be identified over the next year. The board says it will rely on input from alumni and others as they grow the new board.
Father Larry Hemmelgarn, provincial director of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, the group that founded the college in 1890, says they will be looking for new board members committed to Catholic education with experience in business, finance and education.
"You have to love a challenge, be committed to Catholic education, committed to serving the underserved, and excited about finding ways to accomplish that," said Hemmelgarn. "You have to be passionate about wanting to improve the lives of young people. New Board members will be asked to envision a new model for catholic education – because that’s really what we’re working at doing."
The new board members include:
- Mara Davis (1978 SJC graduate) – Operating Manager, The Old Colonial Inn in Kentland
- Peter Ippolito (1986 SJC graduate) – President and General Manager, Midwestern Division, The Sherwin-Williams Co.
- Ned Tonner, a litigation attorney, SJC Fellow and former adjunct professor with SJC’s MBA program
The Saint Joseph’s Board of Directors is responsible for reviewing and approving plans proposed by the Phoenix Project, which was formed in May to explore "new avenues for a reimagined Saint Joseph’s College."
Since the decision to suspend campus activities in February, Saint Joe’s has seen the resignation of President Robert Pastoor, the sale of certain assets and memorabilia to raise funds, and the resignation of its accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.