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New Leaders Bring Energy and Innovation

We are pleased to announce four new leadership appointments that will support the forward momentum of the university. These appointments are effective for the 2022-23 academic year.

University Leaders

See the complete list of university leaders
Dr. Buffy Smith

Dean, Dougherty Family College

Dr. Buffy Smith

One of the nation’s leading scholars on equity and diversity in higher education has been appointed as the next dean of Dougherty Family College (DFC) at the University of St. Thomas – and she’s already a familiar face. 

A sociologist, Smith has been with St. Thomas for more than 18 years, starting as professor in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2004. She eventually was promoted to serve as chair of the sociology department. As a founding associate dean of academics at DFC, she was instrumental in creating the college’s innovative educational model that provides a culturally affirming and validating learning environment, peer support and accountability, paid internships and a rigorous academic program that is designed to be a foundation for a bachelor’s degree.

environmental photo of Bill Tolman

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. William Tolman

Dr. Tolman brings a wealth of experience from a variety of administrative roles at both Washington University in St. Louis, as well as the University of Minnesota, where he was a longtime chemistry professor and department chair.

Dr. Tolman’s passion for experiential learning is rooted in his deep chemistry background. He is a champion for the liberal arts, has a strong track record for lifting faculty voices and has demonstrated great appreciation for the different needs of the areas that comprise the college.

environmental photo of Dr. Laura Dunham

Dean, Opus College of Business

Dr. Laura Dunham

Dr. Laura Dunham has been with St. Thomas for 19 years, starting as an assistant professor in the Entrepreneurship Department and rising to associate professor. She served as the Opus College of Business faculty vice chair and chair, and was promoted to chair of the Entrepreneurship Department.

Her focus on principled leadership, which has defined Dunham's career, is also what distinguishes St. Thomas and its students. In fact, she created a consortium with entrepreneurship professors at Stanford and Duke to train scholars and business leaders on how to better incorporate the ethical dimension of entrepreneurship.

headshot of Omar Correa

Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management

Omar Correa

Bringing 25 years of experience and expertise in enrollment management, Correa has served since 2015 as the vice chancellor of enrollment management at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He's also led enrollment management at several institutions in the Midwest, including Loras College (Iowa), Monmouth College (Illinois), Concordia College, (Minnesota) and Clarke College (Iowa). At these colleges and universities, he’s built a strong track record of exceeding enrollment targets. 

Beginning his academic career at the University of Puerto Rico, Correa said he braved a transition to Iowa State University to complete a degree in chemistry, although he did not speak English at the time. The experience shaped his professional career, focused on working collaboratively with campus partners to create the type of environment where all students can thrive.  

"As an enrollment management professional for these past 25 years, the most significant goal that has emerged for universities is to attract, retain and graduate diverse students who will enhance the fabric of their communities. This can only happen when the entire campus community is engaged and committed to a welcoming, inclusive and success-promoting environment for all," Correa said.