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November 28, 2005

Contact Pat Kerrigan at 608-796-3041


LA CROSSE, Wis. – It’s official. Viterbo celebrated today the announcement naming Dr. Richard Artman the new president of Viterbo University effective July 1.

For the past 11 years, Artman has held the position of president of Siena Heights University, a Dominican, Catholic institution located in Adrian, Mich., where he has earned a strong reputation for his leadership. Siena’s enrollment, facilities, academic programs, and endowment have grown substantially under his tenure.

Artman greeted faculty and staff at a press conference announcing the news, saying, “I am honored and privileged to have been chosen to lead and serve this outstanding university and to follow the lengthy and superb leadership of President Medland.”

For Artman, 57, and his wife Joan, coming to La Crosse to lead Viterbo University feels like the perfect match. “Having served as president of a very similar Catholic university for more than 11 years, the fit feels wonderful. I am mission driven and student centered—qualities I believe match well with the priorities at Viterbo.”

There are a number of other things that attracted the Artmans to La Crosse and Viterbo. “This is a university on the move with new and exciting initiatives, such as the new Mathy Center, the planned construction of additional student housing, and plans to renovate the Brophy Nursing Center and student center. These important initiatives reach out to the community as well as the enrolled student.”

A number of other individuals indicated their excitement at the choice of Artman, who will be Viterbo’s eighth president.

“Rick brings to the position a vast amount of expertise and boundless energy which will be invaluable,” said Sr. Mary Ann Gschwind, chair of the Board of Trustees and head of the search committee. “His passion for the mission of Catholic higher education and his understanding of the Franciscan values which permeate Viterbo, convinced everyone involved in the search and selection process that he is the best person to serve as Viterbo’s president for the years ahead.”

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, president of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and sponsors of Viterbo expressed similar sentiments. “As we look to a new era for Viterbo, we are confident that he will guide the university with its Catholic, Franciscan identity well into the future.”

The news marked the culmination of a process that began this summer when Dr. William Medland indicated that he would be resigning as president at the end of this academic year. A national firm worked with a committee appointed by the Board of Trustees to conduct the search for a new successor.

“I am delighted that Rick Artman will be my successor.” Medland said. “Viterbo is indeed fortunate to be able to attract a current university president of Rick’s caliber, knowledge, and experience.”

Under Artman’s leadership, Siena’s enrollment, particularly in the graduate area and in degree completion centers throughout Michigan, has experienced double-digit growth and his campus was also successful in raising over $13 million in a comprehensive campaign that concluded in 2003.

At Viterbo, Artman said that the “The University of Opportunity” blueprint recently announced this summer, will serve as an immediate guide in shaping his vision for Viterbo. He indicated that some “early listening and observations” suggests some of the challenges and opportunities will include:

•building the endowment so that Viterbo’s high quality and personal education in the liberal arts will remain accessible and affordable,

•extending delivery of quality academic programs to working adults through more degree completion programs,

•offering more online courses and degrees,

•expanding opportunities for global study,

•infusing the university with leading edge technology that enhances teaching and learning.

In addition to his experience at Siena, Artman has served in other areas of higher education. He served for 12 years as vice president for student affairs and was an adjunct faculty member at Wesleyan University in Nebraska. His formal background is in the area of student life and higher education administration and he started his career in the early 70s at the University of Miami, Florida.

He earned a Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education from the University of Miami. The Artmans have two grown children, Darin and Joy, and four grandchildren.

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