Higher Ed

On the Cusp of Its 70th Anniversary, the University of St. Thomas Welcomes a New President

...and its largest incoming freshman class in the university's history.

By Julia Gsell June 9, 2017

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A view across the Academic Mall at the University of St. Thomas, which is anchored by the iconic, gold-domed Chapel of St. Basil that was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson in 1997

Dr. Richard Ludwick spent his first week in Houston settling into his new Montrose home, getting better acquainted with the University of St. Thomas and brainstorming plans for its future—as well as his own. That’s because Ludwick will officially take the reins from former St. Thomas president Robert Ivany in a few short weeks on July 1. 

The incoming president and his wife, Melynda, moved from Indianapolis just this past Monday, June 5. As the university’s ninth president since its first classes were held on September 22, 1947, Ludwick hopes to expand dynamism—which he defines as “opportunities for engagement”—for students both on and off campus.  

“We have a pretty strong freshman class size coming in in the fall,” says Ludwick, who’ll be welcoming nearly 300 incoming undergrads, “and one of the conversations we might have is, Is that the right size class for us?” This is the largest freshman class the University has seen, says Sandra Soliz, the University’s director of communications.

Increasing class size is only one of the topics Ludwick plans to have such conversations about. He also wants to investigate avenues for increasing internship and other post-graduation opportunities for the students.

“Take, for instance, the close relationship the University already enjoys with the Texas Medical Center,” Ludwick says, adding: “How might we expand that?”

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Dr. Richard Ludwick will officially take the title of UST's ninth president on July 1, 2017.

Prior to his new appointment at UST, Ludwick served as the president of America’s oldest state association of private colleges, the Independent Colleges of Indiana—just one of the posts he’s held in higher education during his career. Ludwick also served as commissioner for the Midwest Higher Education Compact and board chair for the Coalition for College Cost Savings.

A Catholic man, as is the Basilian-founded university, Ludwick says his faith will play a big role in both his long-term plans and his daily responsibilities as president.

“For me personally, [faith] informs all that I do,” he says, “and I seek to have that be the case.”

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