Saint Martin’s University names new academic vice president

Joseph D. Bessie, Ph.D. assumes role effective July 1.

Feb. 24, 2009

Lacey, Washington—Roy Heynderickx, president of Saint Martin’s University, announced today that Joseph D. Bessie, Ph.D. will be the University’s new vice president for academic affairs.

“Dr. Bessie stood out as especially qualified for this position,” Heynderickx said. “He has had significant experience both in the classroom and in administration. In addition, he holds an MBA degree, giving him a special understanding of the business side of the University as well.”

Bessie currently serves as the vice president for academic affairs at Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota.

“Saint Martin’s faculty solidly supports Bessie’s appointment,” commented trustee Mary Gentry, who headed the search committee. “This was an important factor for the Board of Trustees.”

“Saint Martin’s is an attractive opportunity,” said Bessie. “Its small size and incredible location, the quality of its programs and its values-based environment make Saint Martin’s an especially appealing place for me.”

Bessie has 30 years of experience in higher education including 14 years in administration. In his current position, Bessie is responsible for the leadership, management, and administration of the academic functions of Valley City State University, a campus with 1,020 students. At Valley City State, Bessie led the creation of a university-wide academic plan for enrollment growth and reorganized its graduate programs into a more effective, cohesive unit. Bessie also played a key role in the development of new online programs at Valley City State.

Bessie holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota and an MBA in management from Southwest Minnesota State University. He and his wife have two children, a son and daughter.

“We are looking forward to coming to the Olympia area and becoming part of the community,” Bessie noted.

“And Saint Martin’s is looking forward to having them as well,” added Heynderickx. “Now we will be able to move forward on important initiatives such as program and facilities planning.”

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 student 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:

Stephen McGlone
Saint Martin’s University