Sister Andrea Lee announced she will step down as president of Alverno College at the end of the school year.
Lee, who has led the Catholic liberal arts college since 2016, will remain in her role until June 30.
Joseph Foy, vice president of academic affairs at Alverno, will serve as interim president.
A search committee, led by board members and committee co-chairs Kathy Hudson and Kathleen O’Brien, will conduct a national search for a permanent successor, the college said.
“It is a distinct honor to lead a sponsored ministry of the School Sisters of St. Francis and to serve at this extraordinary institution,” Lee said. “Alverno College consistently reflects uncommon excellence, a quality both rare and remarkable. During these next months, I will be working diligently with my colleagues to execute our plan forward; to ensure that my successor finds solid and fertile ground from which to launch the college’s advances toward its next horizon of excellence.”
In an announcement Friday, the college highlighted some of Lee’s accomplishments during her six-year tenure, including growing Alverno’s traditional programs while also building out programs to meet emerging workforce needs.
Lee is credited with developing and strengthening undergraduate and graduate programs in social work, education, STEM, public health, neonatal nurse practitioner, community and school psychology, music therapy, and doctorates in education and nursing practice. She also founded the School for Adult Learning and New Initiatives, an innovation center for the development of degree and micro-credential programs focused on workforce needs, particularly in health care, leadership, education and business.
Also during Lee’s tenure, Alverno obtained Wisconsin’s first federal designation as an Hispanic-Serving Institution, and the college launched the Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership, a full scholarship and leadership development program for undergraduate Black women.
“A significant part of Sr. Andrea’s legacy is the students who graduate and leave Alverno College with competence and confidence, knowing that their lives make a difference and that they will contribute significantly toward building a more just, compassionate world,” said Donald Layden, chair of Alverno’s board of trustees.
Lee previously was president of St. Catherine University, a Catholic liberal arts university in Minnesota, for nearly 20 years before joining Alverno.
She serves on several national boards, including the board and executive committee of the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities, most recently as its chair. She also serves on the Public Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and is a member of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, along with serving on the Ascension Wisconsin board and on the steering committees of both the Higher Education Regional Alliance and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
“Sister Andrea has effectively led Alverno through some of the most historic and challenging times in higher education with grace and a fierce dedication to our mission and students,” Foy said. “She is an innovative, visionary leader who works tirelessly and compassionately to serve others. Leading with a dedication to inclusion and the empowerment of students through transformational educational opportunities, she has guided the campus community by building from strength. Her tenure at Alverno has left an indelible mark on the future success of the college. It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the journey with her.”