CSJ reveals its next leader at graduation

Photo by Jon Olender

By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer

College of St. Joseph has hired an administrator from Ohio as its next president.

Dr. Jennifer Scott has been selected to take over next month from outgoing president Lawrence Jensen. The announcement was made at the close of CSJ’s graduation Saturday by A. Jay Kenlan, president of the CSJ board of trustees.

“Dr. Scott is a woman of great intelligence, enthusiasm and grace, who we are confident can lead our college into the future,” Kenlan said.

Scott is the senior director of assessment and program accreditation at Union Institute & University, a Cincinnati-based school specializing in limited-residence and distance-learning programs.

CSJ’s 59th commencement was almost its last. Trustees announced in the spring that they were considering closing the school, after declining enrollment and a failed physician-assistant program created losses that ate away at the college’s already meager endowment.

Faculty and staff, however, presented proposals for a variety of programs they said would generate enough revenue to keep the college solvent. The trustees were convinced, and voted 13-3 to keep the college open.

“We have a good path, a strong path to go forward and pursue success into the future for the College of St. Joseph,” Jensen said, in a farewell address he said he learned he was giving when he saw it listed on the program.

“I am particularly warmed in the heart when I see all of your families here,” he said. “… That makes everything we go through here and the work we do worthwhile.”

The ceremony featured no speeches by students. The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Robert Walsh, the psychology professor who created the school’s traumatology program. Walsh said he “prepared hard” for the speech, doing seven rewrites, before realizing he did not remember anything said by the commencement speakers at his children’s graduations.

“I am reasonably sure you will not remember anything I have to say today,” he said. “I most definitely want you to remember how you feel.”

While the incoming president could not be present, Scott sent remarks that Kenlan read.

She accepted the job, Kenlan read, with “great enthusiasm, hope and determination.”

“A new day is dawning, and I am proud to be a part of the next great chapter of this great institution,” she wrote.