The Concordia University Board of Regents has selected William Cario, PhD as the university’s interim president.

Cario, currently the Provost and Chief Academic Officer for the University, will begin the role July 1, 2021, following the retirement of CUW’s eighth president, Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD.

Cario has been with Concordia University since 1990, and has served as head of the university’s academic operations since 2007. Richard Laabs, chairman of the Board of Regents, said Cario’s appointment received unanimous approval at the Board’s February meeting on Feb. 5.

“The decision about the next president is the most important decision the Board will make,” says Laabs, who also chairs the search committee. “But as we seek our next president, we must not stand still. Dr. Cario, along with our deeply experienced administration, talented faculty, and dedicated staff, will provide consistent, skillful leadership during this transition.”

As Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Cario has supported faculty to accomplish significant academic program growth at Concordia University, including: 

  •       The addition of four professional doctorate programs (DNP, PharmD, OTD, DBA) and a terminal doctorate program (EdD);
  •       Concordia’s early entrance, and now well-known excellence, in online learning which reaches students across the country and around the world;
  •       Expansion of Concordia’s global reach into Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America;
  •     Vital academic program growth at the Ann Arbor campus following the 2013 merger, including the addition of two new academic schools (School of Nursing and School of Health Professions) and dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs;
  •       The growth of Concordia’s full-time faculty roster from approximately 140 to 270.

Cario and his wife, Cheryl, are members of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Mequon, Wisconsin. Cheryl currently serves as a reading specialist at St. John Lutheran School in Glendale. Their sons both graduated from schools within the Concordia University System. David received his bachelor’s degree from Concordia, Chicago in 2014, while Stephen graduated from CUW in 2019. 

“I am humbled to serve Concordia, our students, faculty, and staff as interim during this transition,” said Cario. “Indeed, our entire leadership team will work together to ensure the mission of our university continues to advance—as it has for 140 years—as we serve students and prepare them, in turn for service to Christ. Thank you, Chairman Laabs and the Board of Regents for your support and partnership as we prepare for our next president.”

Also at its February 2021 meeting, the Board of Regents selected the members of the Presidential Search Committee, whose work to plan, identify, and select the next president begins immediately.

Ferry announced his retirement in October 2020. He has served 30 years at Concordia University Wisconsin, with 24 of them as president of CUW and eight of them also as president of the Ann Arbor campus. His retirement will take effect June 30, 2021.

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