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Meet the university's senior leadership

President Jonathan J. Sanford 

Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., is the 10th president of the University of Dallas. President Sanford, who previously served as provost and dean of UD’s Constantin College of Liberal Arts and holds a doctorate in philosophy, is a noted scholar in virtue ethics. Sanford has published widely on philosophical figures and topics, especially in foundational questions in moral philosophy, as evidenced in “Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics” (The Catholic University of America Press 2015). As provost, Sanford oversaw the development of a university-wide strategic plan, and as president, he is focused on leading its implementation by building on the university’s reputation for academic rigor, its commitment to classical Western tradition, and its faithful Catholic identity. 


More on Jonathan J. Sanford


Executive Vice President John Plotts

Plotts joined the University of Dallas in December 2008. He currently serves as executive vice president of the university and served as interim president during the 2018-19 academic year. During his tenure, Plotts has revamped the university’s admission process; overseen student life and athletics; overseen the finance, legal and human resources functions; and served as the university’s informal ambassador to the City of Irving’s governmental officials.

Previously, he held the position of vice president for enrollment and accreditation at Parker University, where he restructured and re-engineered the college's planning and evaluation process, implemented a new strategic retention program and raised more than $1 million through strategic business partnerships, as well as a host of other accomplishments. He was also the dean of enrollment management at Parker University for more than two years. Some of his triumphs in that role included creating an enrollment management model, establishing targeted recruiting efforts, and enrolling a class with the highest GPA in the school's history.

Plotts received his Ed.D. from the University of North Texas, his master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and his bachelor's degree from Clarks Summit University of Pennsylvania.


Interim Provost Tammy Leonard

As interim-provost, Dr. Tammy Leonard oversees the University of Dallas’s 3 academic colleges, the university library, and student affairs.  She received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2001, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2007 and 2009, respectively.  In addition to her academic career, Leonard has served as a volunteer teacher with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), worked as an engineer in the petrochemical industry managing large-scale projects spanning complex technical statistical analysis and large-scale engineering design and implementation, and as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Vice President, Dean and Director of the Rome Campus Peter Hatlie

Director of the Rome Campus, Dr. Peter Hatlie, was born and raised in Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in Classics from St. Olaf College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval and Byzantine History from Fordham University. He came to UD Rome in 1999 after holding positions in the U.S., Bulgaria, Turkey and the Netherlands. He was the acting Academic Director of the Rome Program in 2003, the Academic Director of the Rome Program from Fall of 2005 to Spring 2008, and is now the Dean and Director of the Rome Campus. Dr. Hatlie also teaches History and Ancient Greek.

Vice President for Board and Legal Services and General Counsel Heather A. Lachenauer

Heather A. Lachenauer is an experienced litigator, appellate advocate and educator who has successfully represented international companies, federal agencies, financial institutions, businesses and individuals. She has advocated on behalf of clients in a variety of pro bono matters involving asylum, the death penalty, and religious liberty, among others. Lachenauer has taught political science, rhetoric, and poetics and aesthetics as an adjunct professor and is a former member of the Board of Regents of St. John Paul the Great Catholic University. She is the co-founder of Epiphany Prep Charter School, a school dedicated to providing quality education to children living in low-income communities in San Diego.

Prior to practicing law, Lachenauer spent 10 years working in the field of international development and humanitarian aid, with a focus on legal reform and economic development in Central and Eastern Europe and West Africa and the development of sustainable education in Papua New Guinea.

Lachenauer completed her undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She studied philosophy and theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and obtained a master’s degree in education and human development at The George Washington University. She earned her law degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law.

A Virginia native, Lachenauer is a member of the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Texas, and is admitted to practice before multiple federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Vice President for Advancement Kris Muñoz Vetter

Having served at multiple Texas universities during highly successful comprehensive campaigns, Vetter brings to her role two decades of experience as a higher education fundraiser and administrator. Committed to advancing the mission of Catholic liberal arts education, Vetter was in the inaugural class of the University of Texas at Austin’s Liberal Arts Honors Program. At UT, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture and art history and later earned an M.A. in art history from the University of Chicago. Vetter also completed Ph.D. coursework in Roman art and architectural history at UT Austin. She is married to Deacon Paul Vetter of the Diocese of Dallas, and they have one son, Noah, who is a junior at Cistercian Preparatory School.

Vice President for Marketing & Communications Clare Venegas

Venegas started her career as a reporter and editor at the Orange County Register in Southern California, where she covered local government and community news. She went on to hold several positions in marketing and corporate communications in Orange County and Silicon Valley. Subsequently, Venegas served as president/executive director of Obria Medical Clinics, the largest network of life-affirming women’s health care clinics in Southern California. Most recently, she served as vice president at Curt Pringle & Associates, a public relations and government affairs consulting firm in Southern California. She and her husband, Matt, recently relocated to north Texas, and are proud parents to three school-aged children. 

Vice President for Finance and CFO Robert Watling

Robert Watling, CPA, oversees accounting, audit, treasury, procurement, debt management, student accounts and budget operations at the University of Dallas.

Watling has more than 15 years of finance experience in higher education serving as a chief business officer for a college or administrative division. Prior to joining the University of Dallas in January 2020, Watling was the Vice Provost for Academic Resources at the University of North Texas. In this role, he implemented an academic financial program review to facilitate a more strategic and data-informed allocation of resources. Watling brings valuable private sector experience to his work in higher education. Before focusing his career in higher education, Watling spent about five years in corporate finance focusing on financial statement analysis.

Watling has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Virginia since 2007 and in Texas since 2010. He is a member of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) chairing the Small Institutions Constituent Committee. Watling holds a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and an MBA from Virginia Tech. A veteran of the United States Army, Robert was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Braniff Graduate School Dean Joshua Parens

Although Joshua Parens has taught at the University of Dallas for 16 years, he only recently assumed his current role as dean of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts. Like all UD professors, he teaches widely, but he especially enjoys studying political philosophy with graduate students. As the son of a Shoah survivor, his lifelong interest has been in understanding spiritedness, love of one’s own, or what late moderns call “rootedness,” and its place in the economy of human life, which may be the first question of political philosophy.

He has a book forthcoming in spring 2016, titled "Leo Strauss and the Recovery of Medieval Political Philosophy," which will be the first title in a book series published by University of Rochester Press and Boydell & Brewer, which he is co-editing with Douglas Kries of Gonzaga University. He has published many articles on Alfarabi, Maimonides, and Spinoza and two books on Alfarabi on Plato and Aristotle, respectively with SUNY Press: "Metaphysics as Rhetoric" (1995) and "An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions" (2006). His last book "Maimonides and Spinoza: Their Conflicting Views of Human Nature" was published by the University of Chicago Press (2012). He co-edited with Joseph Macfarland the second edition of the classic anthology by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi, "Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook" (Cornell University Press, 2011). He also has writing projects on Bacon, Descartes, Montesquieu and Heidegger.

Constantin College Dean Philip Harold

Philip Harold joined the University of Dallas in 2021 as Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, which includes all undergraduate programs and the Academic Success Office. Previously he served at Robert Morris University outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he served in a number of administrative positions, including Co-Director of the University Honors Program, Associate Dean of the School of Informatics, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Interim Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences. There he worked to create new undergraduate and graduate programs, re-found the University Honors Program and develop it into a signature academic program, and manage a number of successful initiatives pertaining to academic rigor and student enrollment.

Harold holds a MA and PhD in Politics from The Catholic University of America, and a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has taught a variety of politics courses, and his research focuses on modern political thought.

Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business Dean Brett Landry 

Brett J. L. Landry is the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business' dean and professor of cybersecurity. For more than twenty years, he has worked in information security in the public and private sectors. He has taught and consulted in the U.S., Europe and South America and has published and presented numerous articles in the areas of cybersecurity, IT ethics, IT management, network architecture, and disaster recovery. He also lectures domestically and internationally on IT and cybersecurity issues.

Landry earned his doctorate from Mississippi State University and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). His information security expertise includes risk management, disaster recovery, technology education, and change management.

Landry has been instrumental in the college's AACSB Accreditation efforts, the graduate business MS in technology programs, university technology initiatives, and is responsible for the University of Dallas's certification as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Dean of University Libraries and Research Cherie Hohertz

Cherie Hohertz, dean of university libraries and research, has been with the University of Dallas for 17 years.  Before serving as dean, she held the position of access services and systems librarian in the Cowan - Blakley Memorial Library.  She has served the university as an adjunct instructor in the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business and is currently the staff accompanist for the music department.

Hohertz holds a bachelor’s of music in piano performance from Millsaps College and a master's of library science from Texas Woman’s University.  Her research interests are centered around the impact of library services on student retention, student success, and student matriculation. Her most recent publications include articles on using technology to deliver library services to distance education students.

Chief Information Officer Ruchi Sheth

Ruchi Sheth joined the University of Dallas in 2010 as an information systems analyst. During her 10 years at the university, she has served in several roles improving IT systems and technology. As CIO and CISO, Sheth leads the university’s ongoing commitment to support and promote the strategic use of information technology that advances UD’s mission. Sheth serves as the process owner of all assurance activities related to the availability, integrity and confidentiality of business information in compliance with university’s information security policies. She provides leadership and management for Information Systems and Technology Services, including academic technology, enrollment systems, networking services, user support services, the help desk, and telecommunications. She has extensive experience with enrollment management systems and data analytics for decision-making.

Sheth earned a master’s degree in Management Information Systems from Dallas Baptist University. She is currently working toward her second master’s degree in Cybersecurity from UD’s Gupta College of Business.


UD Organizational Chart