President Julie Sullivan speaks during the Opening Celebration and Interfaith Blessing September 6, 2016 in Schoenecker Arena. Part of Welcome Days.

Office of the President

“All for the Common Good”

This is more than a marketing tagline; it springs from the heart of Catholic social teaching and expresses the inspiring mission of the University of St. Thomas. I am proud to lead this vibrant community where we seek to advance the common good through excellence in education, work and ethical action.

St. Thomas continues to live out this mission through the ongoing implementation of a new strategic plan. With a robust enrollment exceeding 10,000 students and more than 100,000 living alumni all over the world, the university envisions priorities that are, in the words of the plan, “bold and expansive.”

We hope you will enjoy learning more about our initiatives and St. Thomas by exploring our website. Our faculty proudly combine excellence in teaching with rigorous scholarship, and we are eager to share our programs and services with you. I know that as you learn more about us, you too will see a community that defines education as essential to realizing the common good.

Julie Sullivan Signature
Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Dr. Julie H. Sullivan

Julie H. Sullivan is the 15th president of the University of St. Thomas. Serving since July 2013, she is the first layperson and first female president of this almost 135-year-old Catholic university. St. Thomas is the largest private university in Minnesota, with 10,000 students and 2,000 employees. With campuses in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Rome, St. Thomas is a comprehensive university, grounded in the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual tradition, and encompassing eight schools and colleges, including schools/colleges of business, engineering, education and law. Its newest college, the Dougherty Family College is reducing the college education and prosperity gaps in Minnesota by providing an alternate pathway to a bachelor’s degree for first generation and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Sullivan served as executive vice president and provost at University of San Diego (2005-2013) after an extensive academic and administrative career as a professor of business and accounting at the University of California-San Diego (2003-2005) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1987-2003).

Sullivan is an innovative academic leader with a purpose. She is known for her commitments to eliminating economic, education and health disparities and promoting intercultural understanding. She is a champion for social innovation and has been a leader in the global Ashoka Changemaker movement.

Sullivan shares her education, financial, leadership and strategy expertise with public companies, as well as nonprofit organizations. She currently is a board member of TCF Financial Corp., Catholic Charities, Minnesota Business Partnership, Loyola University Chicago and Greater MSP. She also is a member of WomenCorporateDirectors and Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.

Sullivan’s prior board service includes 14 years of cumulative experience as a director of three other public companies: PICO Holdings, Applied Micro and United PanAm Financial Corporation. She also has served on additional non-profit boards, including Greater Twin Cities United Way, Project Concern International and The Old Globe Theatre.

A native of Florida, Sullivan has three degrees from the University of Florida, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in taxation and a Ph.D. in business. She is a (non-practicing) certified public accountant.

Biography (Print Version)

Hundreds of University of St. Thomas students on the streets of campus for an event.

All for the Common Good

At the University of St. Thomas, we believe in hard work, human dignity and the transformative power of purple. We stand up for faith, hope and the power of individuals, working together, to achieve uncommon feats. We build bridges, create solutions and power ideas that move the world forward.

Strategic Plan

President Sullivan led the University of St. Thomas' to create the university's strategic plan, "St. Thomas 2020: Living Our Mission, Expanding Our Horizon."

President Sullivan oversaw:

  • The launch of Dougherty Family College, a two-year college program for promising students who want to obtain a four-year college degree and face financial, academic and social obstacles
  • A branding strategy, "All for the Common Good"
  • A comprehensive campus master-planning process
  • The creation of the Morrison Family College of Health that reimagines how future professionals can solve systemic health care problems

President Sullivan also has encouraged the St. Thomas faculty and staff who created:

  • A new core curriculum for St. Thomas undergraduates
  • create[space], a "maker space" in Anderson Student Center
  • A $2.1 million campus microgrid research and testing facility
  • STELAR, a St. Thomas E-Learning and Research Center to enhance teaching and learning through innovative, transformative technologies

Building on the success of the 2020 Strategic Plan, the University has now begun work on "St. Thomas 2025," a strategic plan that will be created through a collaborative and inclusive effort that encourages input from across the campus.

President's Office Staff

President Sullivan and her staff enjoy hearing from students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community.

Karen Hennes, Executive Assistant


Contact Karen to make an appointment, book a speaking engagement, or invite President Sullivan to attend a meeting or event.