Monday March 7, 2011

A Focus on Mission, Students

Leadership changes at the University of Dayton put an emphasis on the University's Catholic mission and on student development.

The University of Dayton promoted two administrators to guide the University's Catholic mission and student development. The University also plans to begin national searches for two open positions to support these critical functions.

The Rev. James Fitz, S.M., University rector, has been promoted to vice president for mission and rector and will take on the added responsibility of supervising Campus Ministry.

William Fischer, who has served as interim vice president for student development and dean of students since August, has been named vice president for student development and will oversee more than 100 full-time staff and focus on strategic planning and setting policy. The University is planning a national search for an associate vice president for student development/dean of students.

A committee has also begun the search for a new director of campus ministry. The Rev. Chris Wittmann, S.M., who has served as director for nine years, will step down in June to become novice director for the Marianist Province.

Fitz returned to the University in July after serving eight years as assistant provincial of the Marianist Province of the United States. He had previously served as the University's director of Campus Ministry and taught in the religious studies department for four years. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in historical theology from St. Louis University.

"It is a privilege and honor to be part of this University community and to its commitment to be faithful to its Catholic and Marianist heritage and identity," Fitz said. "I look forward to the opportunities to strengthen that commitment among trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students."

Fischer came to the University in 2008 as associate vice president for student development following a national search. He practiced law for 10 years in New Jersey, where he was born and raised. He has 14 years of experience in a variety of student development positions at five other universities. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from Villanova University and a law degree from Seton Hall University.

"I am honored by this appointment and with the opportunity to serve the University and students in this new role," said Fischer, who lives in Washington Twp. "I have a strong appreciation for Catholic higher education, and my time at the University of Dayton has been enriching for me both professionally and personally."

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or

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