Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Donnelly Board appoints trustee as Interim President, leads search for the 7th President of Donnelly College

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Donnelly College’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of Robert R. Bartunek as Interim President, effective December 6.  The Board’s action follows the announcement of President Steve LaNasa’s plans to leave his post later this month. A comprehensive presidential search led by Donnelly Board Chair Dan Haake is also currently underway. 

Bartunek has been a member of Donnelly’s Board of Trustees since 2005 and served as Board Chair from 2010-2012.

“Bob has demonstrated exceptional insight into the challenges and opportunities facing Donnelly,” said Donnelly’s outgoing president, Steve LaNasa. “He has exercised sound leadership, generated engagement from new constituencies, and has been a voice of appreciation for the work of our faculty and staff and the contributions of our volunteers and benefactors. Additionally, Bob’s focus on the details, on keeping open communication flowing, and his high expectations for those with whom he works will be of benefit to the college.”

Bartunek, a shareholder at the law firm Seigfreid Bingham, has more than 35 years of legal experience, primarily representing a variety of closely-held businesses and their owners, trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations.

“As a Board, we are unanimously pleased with Bob’s commitment and willingness to take on these responsibilities while maintaining his involvement in his law practice,” Haake said.

“I’m honored to serve Donnelly in this way,” Bartunek said. “I have a long history with the college and believe it’s important to continue the progress that Steve initiated while the Board carries out its search for the next president. I am looking forward to working more closely with the fantastic faculty and staff in carrying out the important mission of Donnelly, and getting to know some of the friends of the College better.”

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

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, Sr. 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.

“We are blessed to have someone of his tenure on the board to step up in this way,” said Donnelly Trustee Dan Braum, ’71. “What touched me the most was his motivation to continue our recent unprecedented growth. He cares so much about this college, and will ensure not only a smooth presidential transition, but also continued progress towards Donnelly’s strategic plan.”

Donnelly’s ongoing board-backed strategic initiatives include:
  • Completing the $25 million capital campaign and renovation project
  • Expanding enrollment and academic programs
  • Expanding student services to promote continued educational success;
  • Raising awareness of the special mission and tremendous success of the College.
Details regarding the search for a new president are available at