News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

February 20, 2007

St. Mary-of-the-Woods greets its new leader

TERRE HAUTE — Students, staff and faculty at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College welcomed their incoming president, David Behrs, with open arms during a reception Tuesday.

“I have to admit, some of us were a little apprehensive about having a male candidate for president,” said Lynn Payne, president of the student senate, during a short welcoming program.

“But with a down-to-earth personality and a real concern for the well-being of the students in and out of the classroom, he quickly won us over.”

On behalf of the campus, she presented his family with gifts — Woods jackets for Behrs and his wife, Maureen, and a Woods blanket for his 14-year-old daughter, Emily.

Behrs is the first-ever lay president, and the first male president of the Woods. The college has a women’s-only, campus-based undergraduate program.

The Woods External Degree program is open to both women and men.

Behrs, the 15th Woods president, will assume the position July 1.

As Behrs, 47, took the podium at the Le Fer Hall ballroom, he thanked the campus community for its warm welcome. “I’m looking forward to working with all of you to realize that vision of moving to the next level — a level of national and international prominence,” he said.

Later, in an interview, he was asked about being the college’s first male, lay president. “It’s a humbling experience,” following in the footsteps of such great leaders as Sister Joan Lescinski and other Woods’ presidents, he said.

The board of trustees, Sisters of Providence and campus believe he can provide the passion, vision and leadership to take the institution “from what is already an outstanding institution to one that I think is world class,” he said.

Achieving the vision will mean working collaboratively with all groups that have a stake in the college, he said.

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Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
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