Retired president to step in as interim leader for Saint Martin’s

David R. Spangler will assume post while school searches for new president

June 16, 2008

Lacey, Washington — David R. Spangler, Ph.D., will return to the helm of Saint Martin’s University as interim president, board of trustees Chair Ken F. Parsons, Sr. announced this morning. Spangler, who was president of Saint Martin’s from 1984 to 2005, will serve as interim president while the University seeks a replacement for Bryan M. Johnston. Johnston was to begin his tenure as the University’s ninth president next month. He died suddenly June 7. Spangler’s interim post will begin July 1.

Spangler’s extensive experience with Saint Martin’s made him a natural choice for the position, according to Parsons. “It was critical to select somebody who knows and understands our University,” explained Parsons. “Having been president for more than 20 years, Dr. Spangler has a strong connection to the community, the Benedictine tradition and the history of Saint Martin’s. He offers a valuable perspective on our challenges and our successes.”

“The board recognizes and appreciates how the entire University community has pulled together to assure the continued operation of Saint Martin’s,” added Parsons. “Dr. Spangler has the trust and respect of the community and the board, and we are confident in his ability to lead us through this transition period.”

Spangler spent 21 of his 23 years at Saint Martin’s as president, retiring in 2005. During those two decades, Saint Martin’s actively contributed to the development of the Thurston County community. The school grew in enrollment, increased its academic programs, added buildings on campus — most notably O’Grady Library and the Norman Worthington Conference Center — and began its transition from college to university status. Recently, Spangler served on Washington Learns, Gov. Gregoire’s task force on the state’s education system.

“I am humbled to be asked to serve during this interim period of change. Everyone associated with the University prays for Dr. Johnston’s family in this time of trial, and I am confident our Benedictine community will work together to move forward while the search for a new president is underway,” said Spangler.

The board of trustees has begun planning its nationwide search for Saint Martin’s next president. Board Vice-chair A. Richard Panowicz will head a search committee, which will include representatives from the University’s board of trustees, Abbey, faculty, staff and student body. Assisting the committee will be Academic Search, Inc., the firm that helped the University conduct its most recent presidential search.

“We were successful in finding and hiring an exceptional leader in Bryan Johnston, and we are optimistic that this new search will yield another outstanding president for Saint Martin’s,” said Parsons. “With Dr. Spangler leading the University, the board can now focus on carrying out an effective search process.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 320-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Jennifer G. Fellinger
Director of Communications
Saint Martin’s University