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Former Saint Xavier University President to Head the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Yanikoski's new position takes effect Aug. 15

Chicago (Jan. 24, 2005) – Dr. Dennis C. Golden, president of Fontbonne University, Mo., and chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Board of Directors, announced today that Richard A. Yanikoski, president emeritus of Saint Xavier University in Chicago, has been appointed as the ACCU’s next president, effective Aug. 15.

“Dr. Richard Yanikoski is an experienced administrator and proven leader. It is with enthusiasm that we welcome his collaboration, commitment and conviction on behalf of Catholic higher education,” Golden said.

Following his selection, Yanikoski commented “my career interests have always centered on strengthening Catholic higher education. What especially excites me about this position is that I will be able to work with the Catholic campuses across the nation and do so in dialogue with the American bishops, the Vatican, the national press, government agencies and other higher education associations. This opportunity is a dream come true for me. I have great expectations.”      

An expert on Catholic higher education with nearly three decades of experience in leadership experience at SXU and DePaul University, Yanikoski said he is eager to focus national attention on the strengths and contributions of Catholic colleges and universities.

“The ACCU assists member institutions to define and fulfill their distinctive educational missions, especially with reference to their Catholic character. The ACCU is perfectly positioned to promulgate best practices, to foster joint resolution of common challenges and to represent Catholic institutions within the complex network of higher educational organizations,” Yanikoski said. 

With nearly 750,000 students enrolled at more than 220 institutions across the country, Catholic colleges and universities continue to have a significant impact on the economy, the arts and on professions as diverse as business, education, health care and law. 

Yanikoski said he believes there is great opportunity to communicate to the general public and to the church the positive and pervasive impact that Catholic higher education has on American society and that he looks forward to working closely with the national media and the Catholic press to tell the story about Catholic colleges and universities. 

“Catholic institutions do exceptional work and have a bright future, but that future demands continuous vigilance and effort. Secular pressures and financial constraints provide some uncommon challenges to Catholic colleges and universities, yet decade after decade they provide exemplary educational opportunities to students of all backgrounds,” Yanikoski said.

Yanikoski expects to build upon the ACCU’s current programs by developing a rich repository of benchmark data, best practices, policy statements and orientation materials for use by member institutions. He also intends to assist sponsoring religious congregations in transitioning to lay leadership on their campuses, and he hopes, he said, to foster initiatives by which Catholic institutions of higher learning will take a collective lead in professional ethics, workplace justice and educational opportunities for society’s marginalized citizens.

Yanikoski served as president of Saint Xavier University from 1994 to 2003, when he was named president emeritus. Previously he served as associate vice president for academic affairs at DePaul University from 1983 to 1991. From 1991 to 1994 at DePaul, he was the director of the Public Services Graduate Program, and he founded the Harry F. and Elaine M. Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. He also has lectured at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Education.

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