Anderson will begin his new position on May 29, 2015, succeeding President Dennis Ahlburg, who will be leaving at the end of his five-year contract ending Jan. 1, and interim president Michael Fischer.
“The Board’s decision to elect Danny Anderson as Trinity’s next president was unanimous,” stated Doug Hawthorne, chairman of Trinity’s Board of Trustees, in a University-issued press release. “Dr. Anderson’s leadership experience and perspective, his knowledge of the higher education landscape, and his commitment to the liberal arts experience, will be of tremendous value as Trinity advances as an innovative leader in higher education.”
Anderson is a native Texan. He was born in Houston and lived mostly in Rusk. He received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and masters and doctorate degrees in Spanish at the University of Kansas.
Trinity recently established and approved a 10-year strategic plan designed to place the University at the forefront of defining the new liberal arts experience by strengthening market position and improving student recruitment, serving as a leader for excellence in teaching and research, and improving alumni relations, engagement, and giving.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to lead Trinity University during this transformational period,” Anderson stated. “I will work to ensure Trinity is recognized as the model of 21st century liberal arts education. Through the discovery that occurs in the Trinity experience, students grow and become the kind of leaders our world needs today.”
As a long-time faculty member and administrator at the University of Kansas, he oversees a college of about 600 faculty and 55 departments and programs and is responsible for budgetary oversight, curriculum development, and faculty recruitment and development.
Described as a highly effective leader on campus, he was appointed to his current position as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2010. His leadership helped to raise more than $80 million as part of a capital campaign, revitalized the college’s advisory board, and restructured staff roles to better support alumni engagement.
At KU, he led the quick adoption of the new university-wide curriculum, the KU Core, and redesigned the bachelor’s degree to allow flexibility, creating the School of Public Affairs and Administration and the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He led the college during a period of transformation by aligning KU’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, and its partner initiatives Far Above, the university capital campaign, and Changing for Excellence, the university’s administrative efficiency initiative.
An award-winning teacher, Anderson has firsthand experience integrating experiential learning into his classroom and a deep appreciation for international awareness. He has received a number of awards and fellowships, including the ING Award for Teaching Excellence, a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers.
He is the author of one book and editor of nine books, including titles in the series “Pan-American Literature in Translation” for the University of Texas Press. He has published more than 25 articles, essays, book chapters, and translations.
A specialist in Mexican literature and culture, his research interests and teaching have taken him to Mexico many times.
“Trinity is remarkably well situated in San Antonio to further explore ties to Mexico and Latin America,” he said. “I believe my unique background will help Trinity further engage the many facets of San Antonio’s heritage. I also look forward to being actively involved in the San Antonio community.”
Anderson began his academic career in 1985 at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the Kansas faculty in 1988 as an assistant professor in Spanish and was named a full professor in 2003. He also served as chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese, associate dean in the College for Interdisciplinary Programs, vice provost for Academic Affairs, and interim provost and executive vice-chancellor.
“I will deeply miss the University of Kansas, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and my relationships with so many members of the KU community,” Anderson stated. “Since 1988, KU has been the home for my professional growth as a teacher, scholar, and leader. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities KU has provided me, and in my remaining weeks as dean, I will do my utmost to ensure the continued success of our goals.”
Anderson and his wife, Kimberly, a teacher, librarian, and community volunteer, have two adult children.
President Dennis A. Ahlburg, who announced in May that he would be stepping down at the end of his contract to begin a sabbatical in January at the end of his five-year contract with the University. Among several research and teaching projects, Ahlburg has accepted a prestigious visiting fellowship at Exeter College at Oxford University.
Ahlburg was chosen for the position by the Board of Trustees in September of 2009 and became president in January of 2010, bringing a background as an internationally respected authority on the impact of population growth on development and the economics of higher education.
On his blog, he wrote about how he wished to develop an implement a strategic plan, introduce an innovative curriculum, develop a first-rate entrepreneurship and innovation program, reinvigorate the business program and career services, strengthen ties to the San Antonio community, begin marketing the University, raise its national and international profile, and rebuild athletic facilities.
Ahlburg also spearheaded the construction of the University’s new Center for Sciences and Innovation.
Before coming to Trinity, he served as the dean of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder since August 2005. Under his leadership, the Leeds School significantly expanded and renovated the business school facilities, strengthened the undergraduate program, increased its resource base, and put into place a strategic plan to enhance the school’s curriculum, diversity, and outreach.
Ahlburg enjoyed a 25-year career as a professor of human resources and academic administrator at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where he was senior associate dean, Land Grant Professor of Human Resources, and the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs.
*Top/featured image: Danny J. Anderson was selected by Trinity University’s Board of Trustees as the college’s 19th president Monday, Dec. 15. Image courtesy of Trinity University Communications.