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Benedictine University president Carroll to step down after 20 years

January 12, 2015

William J. Carroll, Ph.D.

National search begins to find successor to continue University’s legacy of growth, success under Carroll

Lisle, Illinois ~ After more than two decades of exemplary leadership and spearheading a host of innovations which culminated with Benedictine University being named the fastest-growing university in the country since 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Benedictine President William J. Carroll, Ph.D., announced today that he will step down as president in December 2015.

Carroll said he is ready to pass the torch to a new leader who will embrace Benedictine as he has, and lead the school and a new generation of students to continued success in the future.

“When I started this journey in 1995, the school was on the cusp of closing,” Carroll said. “Enrollment was down and the University was embroiled in racial tensions and open hostility.

“Today, with class sites in China, Vietnam, Arizona and throughout Illinois, we are the fastest-growing university in the country with nearly 10,000 students worldwide, have a host of remarkably dedicated and compassionate faculty and staff, and the University is recognized as one of the most diverse and welcoming in the country,” he said. “We conduct interreligious dialogue sessions, designate prayer space for non-Catholic religious groups, and have established an Interfaith Cooperation Committee.”

The University’s Board of Trustees, under the leadership of incoming chair Jim Melsa, is committed to a national search to find a candidate who will build on Carroll’s success and is the right fit.

“Bill and I have seen the University through some tough times in the past as well as through the growth and achievements that have made it the great school we know and love today,” said Will Gillett, outgoing chair of Benedictine’s Board of Trustees. “His leadership and friendship throughout the years is something I personally value,” “He is an outstanding leader and we are very grateful for his 20 years of service to the BenU community.”

Carroll, who will step down at the end of this calendar year, will continue to lead the University through the transition.

Among his biggest accomplishments will be the anticipated fall 2015 opening of the new Daniel L. Goodwin Hall of Business. Other campus improvements during his presidency include the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, parking garage, Founders’ Woods apartments, Birck Hall of Science, Kindlon Hall of Learning, and Rice Center and Neff Welcome Center renovations.

There was also much growth in programs, services and technology including the Office of International Programs and Services, the Center for Civic Leadership, the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, the National Moser Center for Adult Learning and the creation of branch campuses in Springfield, Ill., and Mesa, Ariz.

The Office of Financial Aid ensures students find ways to make their education possible, and scholarships are available through the annual President’s Invitational Golf Outing. The Career Development Center prepares students for the job market from their first year on campus. Exposing students to varying viewpoints by teaching students how to think, not what to think, by hosting national and international speakers of diverse beliefs and backgrounds was a cornerstone of Carroll’s presidency.

Carroll, who earned numerous individual awards while president, deflects the growth and success of the University as being solely his doing. He relates it to continuing the mission of the monks, and other founders of the University who came before him, who set out to achieve excellence in education while serving God and others.

“All that has been accomplished in these 20 years is because of what it means to be Benedictine,” Carroll said. “Setting high goals and achieving them, then not being complacent but rather continuing to look into the future while not forgetting those who helped you get there. Welcoming the stranger with open arms to build peace and understanding, making student success our main focus and doing what is right – not what is necessarily profitable.

“That’s what it means to be Benedictine,” he said.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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