We are now a month into the spring semester here at Clarke and campus is buzzing with activity. This emanates from the classroom as well as beloved community spaces like the Lion’s Den, which is now open to students after a beautiful renovation primarily funded by the Class of 1972. Please join me in thanking all who donated to this cause, as well as the members of the Clarke Student Association, Institutional Advancement, Facilities, Office of Information Technology, Marketing and Communications teams, and all who contributed to this project.  


While the Lion’s Den offers a welcome retreat to our students, our faculty and staff are hard at work on projects that support the development of our strategic plan. Mariann Kurtz Weber continues to lead our steering committee for this project and has garnered input across campus through weekly topic emails and an online forum for faculty and staff. The feedback will shape our university vision, which will be endorsed by the Board of Trustees at the end of February. The vision will then guide the next steps of our strategic plan. 


Early action items 


As we work toward our vision and strategic plan, Clarke is already taking action to put our institution on a path to success. On February 8, the President’s Office hosted a Cabinet Retreat that focused on Trust and High-Performing Organizations. This generated some great conversations, and we hope to continue the discussions as a community during our Catholic Identity Retreat this spring.  


During the retreat, we also welcomed Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Kapelke. In his role, Steve aims to reaffirm Clarke’s commitment to its Core Values through student learning and engagement, building on the existing excellence of our faculty and staff. Steve is getting to know the needs of our academic community through a series of open forums, the first of which was held this Wednesday, and we’re excited to see how this collaborative approach shapes the future of education at Clarke.  


Another item that will have a major impact on Clarke is a $100,000 gift from members of our Board of Trustees to enhance our recruitment efforts. Vice President of Enrollment Management Julie Cirks said the gift will allow us to purchase more search names and increase our print and digital communications with prospective students for Fall 2023, 2024, and 2025, as well as transfer and graduate students. To ensure this money is used efficiently and effectively, the Enrollment Management and Marketing and Communications teams will be allocating a portion of their previously existing budgets to work with Huron Consulting Group, who has aided the university in financial planning in the past. We are tremendously grateful for this show of support from our Board and look forward to seeing the returns on this investment in the years ahead! 


While this letter has featured on-campus happenings, Clarke University is also proud to announce that we are enrolling in Laudato Si’. With this commitment, the university joins an international coalition of organizations answering Pope Francis’s call to “care for our common home.” These efforts allow us to extend the BVM and Clarke Core Values to environmental and social justice causes locally, regionally, and around the globe.  



Interim President

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