Drew University Names New President

MaryAnn Baenninger, president of the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, will start at Madison school on July 21.

MaryAnn Baenninger has been named Drew University's new president. (Photo courtesy of Drew University)
MaryAnn Baenninger has been named Drew University's new president. (Photo courtesy of Drew University)
Drew University announced Monday it has selected MaryAnn Baenninger, the president of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., as the new president of the Madison college.

"I’m honored and delighted to be joining Drew University as its next president. It is exceedingly fortunate for me that Drew’s aspirations and goals are a direct match for my experience and for the aspects of higher education that are especially dear to my heart,” Baenninger said. “Drew is a very fine university, and it will be a privilege to be its leader. Together we will ensure that Drew is as robust as it can be.”

Baenninger, 58, will replace Madison resident Dr. Vivian A. Bull, who has been the university's interim president since Robert Weisbuch resigned in 2012 after seven years as president.

Baenninger, who will assume her position on July 21, said her focus at Drew will be to build on its legacy of internationalism, embark on capital projects and raise Drew’s visibility, while maintaining its longstanding tradition of excellence as a liberal arts institution.

"We are so pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger, who was chosen out of a pool of more than 100 applicants,” said William M. Freeman, Drew trustee and chairman of the university’s presidential search committee. “She’s a brilliant scholar who represents the best overall match to our candidate profile."

Baenninger spent the last decade as the president of the College of Saint Benedict, a nationally ranked liberal arts school. During her tenure, she led a successful capital campaign, oversaw multiple construction projects and received national recognition for the college’s study abroad programs, internationalization efforts and support for undergraduate research. She also diversified the student body while improving student quality and, as a result, increased the financial strength of her institution.

Baenninger was previously an executive at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, served as an associate professor at The College of New Jersey and held assistant professor positions at Philadelphia University and Washington College in Maryland. She has a bachelor’s degree and PhD. from Temple University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She’s also received professional certificates from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University.

Freeman said Baenninger was consistently rated highly by her students during her years as a professor and has a proven track record of transforming the College of Saint Benedict during her time there. In addition to having a background as a professor and scholar, Baenninger is a well-respected speaker who sits on the boards of many organizations and was one of three women chosen to serve on the board of trustees for the American University of Sharjah, a coeducational university in the United Arab Emirates.

Baenninger's last day at the College of Saint Benedict will be June 30 before she returns to her East Coast roots.

“As I began my search, Drew was one of a very small set of institutions where I felt there could be a match,” she said. “Once I got to know Drew better, and once I spent time on campus with the trustees, the faculty, the staff and the students, it just felt right. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”


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