University of St. Thomas names first female leader

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The University of St. Thomas has had a priest as its leader all throughout its 127-year history, but on Thursday chose a non-cleric woman to be its next president, the Pioneer Press reported.

The St. Paul-based Catholic school has chosen Julie H. Sullivan to be its next leader. She is currently the executive vice president and provost at the University of San Diego, a Catholic institution.

Here is her bio.

"Yes, I am a woman, and a Catholic lay person," Sullivan said, Fox 9 reported. "Sign of the times."

Sullivan will take her new job at a school in good financial shape, following a record-setting $515 million fundraising campaign. The school's enrollment has grown nearly 25 percent in the last 12 years, the Pioneer Press reported.

The Rev. Dennis Dease plans to retire in June after 22 years leading the school.

The Star Tribune noted that of the 122 institutions that are led by lay presidents, 39 are led by women.

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