Sister Joan Lescinski, president of St. Ambrose University, announced Tuesday that she intends to retire next August.
The 13th president, Lescinski has served since 2007, when she replaced Edward Rogalski.
“Thank you. Thank you, and thank you,” Lescinski said Tuesday to the university community. “The university welcomed me, a complete stranger — nobody knew me here — the university community and the Quad-Cities community welcomed me as though I were someone who had been here for a long time.”
The welcome meant a great deal to her, she said. She has tried to do the same for others as they joined the St. Ambrose community during the last 14 years.
During her remaining year as president, she will focus on fundraising and academics, she said.
“To continue to build programs and to assess programs,” she said. “To look at which programs are still serving our students and our community and help them continue to shape the curriculum in an appropriate manner. Those are the big items.”
In particular, she would like to focus on fundraising for scholarships, she said. They enable many students to attend college who otherwise might not.
The university said the search for Lescinski’s replacement will begin soon, and be performed by a committee with the assistance of WittKieffer, the search firm that helped find Lescinski for the university when it needed to replace Rogalski.
The committee will include members of St. Ambrose’s board of trustees, as well as members of the alumni, students, faculty and staff.
The search is expected to be complete by February. Once the new president is in place, Lescinski will remain in the Quad-Cities for a year to assist in the transition.
She said the decision to retire now was largely based on what the university has accomplished during her time as president.
When she started, the university’s board spoke with her about goals for St. Ambrose during her presidency.
“And with their help, and the help of wonderful faculty, staff and donors and so many others, we have accomplished those tasks that the board had in mind,”she said. “It’s been a great privilege for me during those years to work with so many people to accomplish those goals.”