By: Sara Haque and Karly Sacco
EDITOR IN CHIEF AND NEWS EDITOR
Walking into BenU 20 years ago, where the university was a college, and contained very minimal buildings and accommodations, Dr. William Carroll stepped in with the goal to rebuild, change and establish a unified community.
Now, BenU has become international. In addition to the main campus, BenU has reached Springfield, IL, Mesa, AZ, China and globally through online courses. With a simple goal to expand, Dr. Carroll has created a BenU community filled with diversity, acceptance and open hearts.
Benedictine University’s President, Dr. William Carroll, announced on the first day of the spring semester through an email that he will be resigning on December 31, 2015.
“You never leave on a bad day, you leave on the best days. These are the best days for Benedictine,” said Dr. Carroll.
Dr. Carroll has been the president at Benedictine University for almost 21 years. After announcing his resignation, the question is what is next?
“Dr. Carroll keeps saying ‘I’m not retiring, I am resigning’ I don’t know exactly what he will choose to do but knowing him I am sure he will continue be involved in whatever he chooses to be involved in; he will be active,” said Maria de la Camara BenU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Although leaving BenU can be a difficult transition, Dr. Carroll plans to keep himself busy.
“I don’t know but I rile at the word retirement, anybody who knows me, knows I’m not retiring. Someone once told me that retirement is like Saturday mornings, and my response is, but I hate Saturday mornings. I am going to do something in higher education. Probably along the lines of consulting somewhere. I may look into starting a business. But, I don’t want to wake up someday 80 or 90 years old saying, ‘I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t left Benedictine in 2015.’ rather than stay another 10 years, because I can stay another 10 years, and we’d simply be doing the same,” said Carroll.
“I believe in a calling, and I believe I’m being called, and I believe that God has put me and Benedictine together on this road, but I can actually see now my road is going this way, and where Benedictine is going this way.”
Dr. Carroll further explained how BenU is not the end, but the beginning of something new.
“To me it’s like okay Bill, you’ve arrive at your destination on this train its time for you to go on the next station. I don’t know where the next train is going, but it’s not retirement. I’ll be associated with the university forever, I hope,“ said Carroll.
The process of choosing the next president will take time.
“The sitting president should have no role. I will interview with the person, but I won’t be on the search committee. I won’t select the search committee. We have hired an outside consulting firm Hyatt-Fennell, who knows us very well. They’re gonna do a search six, seven months and when the new person comes, then I’ll leave,” said Carroll.
The future president will have many responsibilities to add on after Dr. Carroll’s resignation.
“A president is simple a watchman. We don’t own the place; we are simple taking care of it. The goal is to always pass it on in better shape than you found it,” said Carroll.
“If someone comes in here and tries to follow Bill it is going to be very hard. I think he or she will have to bring their own personality,” said Charles Gregory, Executive Vice President of University Services.
With BenU being awarded the fastest growing University, the future president has many positive opportunities to look forward to.
“The next person has to understand our diversity. Because we are Catholic we have to be diverse. By being diverse we are a better Catholic institution,” said Carroll.
Benedictine University will need a president that understands the diversity of the institution.
“We are what the world needs right now that all these various creeds, religions and cultures need to understand each other if they’re gonna make the world a better place, that’s why Benedictine exists. And if a new president were to come in and not understand that, wow we’re in trouble,” said Carroll.
There were physical changes to the school that Dr. Carroll made over the 20 years, but the people who truly know him and worked with him closely will remember the overall impact he had on the university.
“Life is all about change, it is the only constant. One way or the other you know that your life is going to change and that is one of the many things that that Dr. Carroll brought to Benedictine. He had a vision for change,“ said Gregory.
Junelly Gonzalez contributed to this story.