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St. Norbert College welcomes new president

Ceremonies for the inauguration of the eighth president of St. Norbert College, Dr. Brian Bruess, were held on Wednesday, October 11. A Mass of celebration took place at St. Norbert Abbey followed by the inaugural ceremony in Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts on the St. Norbert College campus, followed by a reception.

Dr. Bruess, a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert, is only the second St. Norbert graduate to hold the position of president. The Rev. Dennis Burke, O. Praem.,’26 was the first.

“We will remain rooted in our heritage and centered on our transformational vision as we pursue the next level of its expression. We will confirm our place among the most highly esteemed Catholic liberal arts colleges in the nation,” said Dr. Bruess. “Most important, we will illuminate a path for our students to find an authentic love of learning, a passion for the pursuit of wisdom, and the ability to flourish in this
complex, beautiful world,” he added.

Dr. Bruess served in various leadership roles in his 21-year tenure at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was executive vice president and chief operating officer, and was responsible for multiple areas including enrollment management, student affairs, information technology, athletics, finance, and administration.

He received bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and psychology at St. Norbert College and both a master’s and a doctoral degree from Ohio University. Dr. Bruess’ wife, Dr. Carol Bruess, who is also a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert College, was professor of communication and journalism and director of the Family Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Bruess succeeds Mr. Thomas Kunkel, who successfully led the college for the past nine years. Mr. Kunkel retired on July 1.