Monday, October 28, 2013

Donnelly College President Steve LaNasa to leave in December

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Donnelly College President Steve LaNasa announced plans to leave his post in December. LaNasa has served as the institution’s president since 2008.

Under his leadership, the College, located in Kansas City, Kan., has experienced a robust period of program growth and campus expansion.

LaNasa’s decision to resign was prompted by an opportunity for his family to live abroad. His wife, a Cerner executive, has accepted an international assignment with the company.

“It is with mixed emotions, both regret and excitement, that I share the news that I will be leaving Donnelly College and Kansas City,” said LaNasa, in a letter to the Donnelly College community. “That excitement, however, also comes with a deep sense of regret because my time at Donnelly will come to an end.  Donnelly College has represented a profound blend of my faith-life and my experiences working in higher education up to this point.”

Transition planning, including a search for LaNasa’s replacement, led by Board of Trustees Chairperson Dan Haake, is underway.

“The news of Steve’s impending departure comes at a time of unprecedented growth for the College,” said Haake. “Due in large part to Steve’s visionary leadership and passion for the College’s mission, we have initiated an ambitious campus master plan that will strengthen Donnelly’s capacity to meet the diverse needs of current and future students.

The College’s growth is also reflected in the successful launch of additional academic programs, including two new bachelor’s degrees that received accreditation earlier this year.

“Though we are saddened by his departure, we are grateful for the great work Steve has done – building strong partnerships with regional education leaders and fostering trust and support among donors and community groups – to ensure that Donnelly College is well positioned to continue providing area students with the highest quality liberal arts education at the most affordable cost,” Haake continued.

Under LaNasa’s leadership, the College initiated a $25 million, multi-year, comprehensive campus development and renovation plan. The first phase of the plan was completed earlier this year with the opening of a new $1.6 million Community Event Center, the first new construction at Donnelly in 50 years.

Major gift commitments from several donors, including the College’s sponsor, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, are fueling the plan’s second phase, which is expected to break ground within the next year. George Breidenthal and William H. Dunn, Dr. are co-chairs of the College’s capital campaign.

The next phase of development will focus on renovations to the main tower including construction of a new entrance, a campus chapel, a state-of-the-art academic resource center and library, and additional improvements that enhance the overall learning environment.

“Steve’s leadership has helped Donnelly move ahead not only in the educational community of KCK but also as a catalyst to help Donnelly become better known in the metropoloitan area, said Breidenthal. “I’m going to miss him; I’ve been there with him since day one.

“I’m proud to know he’s been a president who’s followed in the legacy of the great presidents we’ve had at Donnelly and I’m looking forward to continued success for Donnelly and for Steve and his family,” he continued.

Nearly 85 percent of Donnelly students are first generation college students. The College’s commitment to keep tuition affordable and to provide financial assistance to students who show promise has opened the doors to higher education to thousands of area students.

The Presidential Search Committee expects to announce plans for an interim president in the near future. Details regarding the search for a new president are available at

 “I still believe, with the same degree of conviction that I held six years ago, that our work [at Donnelly College] is among the most important work taking place in higher education for both our community and our country,” LaNasa told the Donnelly community.  “I have been able to serve alongside an assembly of the most competent and committed individuals I have experienced in my career—something I am so grateful for and will truly miss in the years to come.”