Michael Hemesath, who has led St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., since 2012, will step down in August.
Hemesath is the first lay president appointed to a full term on the Catholic campus, which serves about 1,700 undergraduates. Dan McKeown, who became chairman of the university’s governing board earlier this month, said in a statement issued Tuesday that he had recently had “long and productive” conversations with Hemesath about the university’s future and the president’s plans, including an August sabbatical.
“Out of these conversations came the mutual decision for Michael to step down as president,” McKeown said.
University officials praised Hemesath’s financial stewardship of the university and the campus improvements he oversaw, including the renovation of Alcuin Library, the construction of the Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons and the St. John’s Bible Gallery, and the expansion of the university’s athletic facilities.
“It has been the greatest privilege and honor of my academic life to serve my alma mater and this community for the last seven years as St. John’s first lay president,” Hemesath wrote in an announcement to the campus community.
Hemesath graduated from St. John’s in 1981 with a degree in economics before earning a master’s and doctorate in economics from Harvard University. He taught economics at Carleton College in Northfield and at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Hemesath made $410,870 in 2017, according to nonprofit financial-disclosure data.
McKeown said the board will appoint an interim president as it works on recruiting a permanent replacement.