Cindy Gnadinger, who began her career in education as an elementary school teacher, will become Carroll University's 15th president on July 1.

Gnadinger, 50, will be the first woman to serve as Carroll University president since its inception in 1846.

Gnadinger, in a May 16 telephone interview, said her goal is to continue the university's mission of providing a liberal arts education while also being relevant and responsive to the needs of the community.

Higher education has shifted focus toward programming that directs students to jobs, prompting liberal arts colleges to question their roles in education and surrounding communities, Gnadinger said. 

"We can provide educations in health services, business and sciences without abandoning liberal arts," she said of Carroll.

Gnadinger also stressed the importance of teaching students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers.

She describes herself as an energetic person who, with her husband of 27 years, John, resides in a farmhouse on  five-acres on the outskirts of Loiusville, Kentucky. The couple has three sons. He works for Johnson Controls, and she is a native of Shepherdsville, Kentucky.  

New leader

Gnadinger succeeds Douglas Hastad, who will retire after leading the university for more than a decade. Gnadinger has more than 23 years of experience in higher education and 15 years in administration, according to a news release.

“We’re excited to welcome Gnadinger as our next leader,” said Jim DeJong, immediate past chairman of the Carroll University Board of Trustees and chairman of the presidential search committee. “Beyond her impressive credentials, she is a dynamic leader with a strong commitment to higher education.

"Her demonstrated ability to engage the entire Carroll community will be very important in shaping a strategic vision for the university’s future. Under Gnadinger’s leadership, we will continue to support the many achievements of the past decade while creating new opportunities that continue to move Carroll forward.”

Her background

From 2000-2013, Gnadinger worked as a faculty member, department head, dean and assistant vice president for academic affairs at Bellarmine University in Loiusville, Kentucky.

Gnadinger served at William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 2013-14 as vice president for academic affairs and St. Catharine College near Springfield, Kentucky, as provost from 2014-15 and president from 2015-16. St. Catharine closed in 2016 due to financial difficulties. 

Gnadinger currently is an executive consultant for Bellarmine

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University and master’s degree from the University of Louisville. She has a doctor of education in education supervision from the University of Louisville.

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