Last year, President Kunkel made the bittersweet decision to retire as president of the college, and the college has nothing but gratitude for the nine years he served the St. Norbert community and happy memories of his time here. Last December, it was announced that Brian Bruess, vice president and chief operating officer of St. Catherine University, would continue Kunkel’s mission and become the eighth president of SNC.
Bruess, from the class of 1990, is the first SNC graduate since 1926 to become president of the college. He grew up in Monroe, WI and holds a degree in psychology and sociology from St. Norbert and a Ph.D. in college student personnel from Ohio University, where he was dean of students. He has a lengthy record of service to Catholic higher education; he first began his career at St. Catherine University 21 years ago, and has been involved in enrollment management, student affairs, information technology, athletics, finance and administration. He was responsible for a 21% increase in enrollment at the university, when most universities experienced a 30-40% drop in enrollment. He received several awards for his commitment to education including the Minnesota College Personnel Association’s Lud Spolyar Distinguished Service Award and the Linda Schrempp Alberg Award. When he is not helping college students pursue their ambitions, he is raising a family with his wife Linda, who is a communication and journalism professor and director of the family studies program at the University of St. Thomas. They have two children: Tony, a junior at Stanford University, and Gracie, a junior in high school.
His main goal at St. Norbert is to build upon the partnerships it has with the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE), and Notre Dame Academy, and others, and to make known to prospective students the advantages of having a Catholic education.
"It's gratifying to know the college -- with a vibrant community at the center -- is so healthy and has seen much recent success, yet remains eager to discover an
even brighter future," said Bruess in a press release.
Bruess will be formally welcomed into the St. Norbert community at the inauguration ceremony on October 11, and the college community wishes him well in this next chapter of his life.