Dear members of the Clarke Community, 

First, thank you all for the warm welcome to campus and Dubuque! As Clarke’s Interim President for the next 18 months, it is my hope that my 40 years of professional and educational experience will soon prove to be a valuable addition to this wonderful community. While I invite you to learn more about me, the heart of this letter is dedicated to helping connect you to Clarke on a deeper level. 

As I’ve gotten to know the Clarke community, it’s apparent that this is truly a special place. I want to send a special thank you to the BVM Sisters who founded Clarke and continue to hold it and all of us in their prayers. Their deep connection to this institution has created that culture of warmth and welcome I’ve come to know already, and I’m confident it will serve us well as we embark on an ambitious plan for the future of Clarke University. 

Over the next 18 months, my goal is to ensure that the next president of Clarke University joins an institution that is not only welcoming but thriving. The following four-phase plan covers the essential steps for our progress: 

Phase 1 (Jan-Feb 2023) 

  • Focus on communications, developing a shared vision, and establishing plans for enrollment, retention, and student support 

Phase 2 (Mar-Jul 2023) 

  • Assess academic and athletic offerings, and academic advising, and how these areas align with the Strategic Plan and budget 

Phase 3 (Aug-Dec 2023) 

  • Successfully complete our HLC accreditation visit, review the university’s financial status and capital needs, and explore retention initiatives for faculty and staff 

Phase 4 (Jan-Dec 2024) 

  • Lead strategic partnerships and community outreach that ensure a successful transition to the new president 

Phase one is already underway and Mariann Kurtz Weber, Director of Community and Business Partnerships has been appointed to lead the collaborative development of a strategic vision statement. Other initiatives, like enrollment and retention, will build from already strong traditions, including Clarke’s New Student Dinner, which was held January 24. We welcomed 38 new first year and transfer students from around the world to Clarke this spring, and hope to welcome many more in the months ahead with our increasingly robust recruitment efforts.  

Positions in Transition 

We are also undergoing transitions in key areas, such as Academic Affairs. Following faculty recommendation, Steven Kapelke has been named the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs effective February 1. Steven has been a critical asset in preparing Clarke for our Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit this November and is well prepared to excel in this new role. He is joined by Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Becky Bruxvoort, in a promotion that recognizes her knowledge, skills and years of service. As they seek to hire an Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean, they will also find support in Paula Schmidt, who is serving as Transitional Advisor to Academic Affairs through this summer. In line with these changes, Clarke is also moving from a two college-system to one college, which better reflects the liberal arts approach central to the Clarke experience.  

Additionally, Catherine Smith joins us as the Director of Residence Life beginning February 6 and brings with her years of experience in creating safe and welcoming spaces for students. With each of these updates, we believe we are creating a bright future for the students of Clarke. 

Community Connections 

Finally, thanks to the support of the Class of 1972, other alumni and friends, and the tireless efforts of Clarke’s Facilities Management staff, I am thrilled to invite you to the grand reopening of the Lion’s Den! The Clarke Student Association will hold a blessing and social for all students today at 5 p.m. I hope this will also serve as an opportunity for me to personally meet many more members of this fantastic community. 


Fletcher Lamkin

Interim President

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Clarke University