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Administration

Meet the university's senior leadership

President Thomas S. Hibbs

Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83, serves as the ninth, and first alumnus, University of Dallas president. During his tenure, he has made increased philanthropy and improved marketing, communications and national branding a hallmark of his presidency.

His philanthropic efforts were marked by an immediate and dramatic increase in the number of new endowed scholarships established by the university. In the 2019-20 academic year alone, Hibbs’ leadership team secured 16 new endowments. Hibbs also secured new grants for priorities of his administration, including a $750,000 grant for first-generation students. His team also set records in annual giving, including a record-breaking North Texas Giving Day. Overall philanthropic revenue jumped 24% in the 2019-20 academic year compared to the previous year and 45% from two years earlier.

Hibbs’ leadership team has also vastly increased the marketing and communications efforts of the University of Dallas. During his tenure, he has established the Presidential Conversations series and instituted collaborations with national organizations including the American Enterprise Institute, the Religious Freedom Institute and the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture. Hibbs has been a frequent op-ed contributor in The Dallas Morning News, and revamped UD’s alumni communications — including its Tower magazine and Presidential UpDates. The university’s active social media channels have grown in popularity, and the energetic and inspiring view of the life of the university has helped us share our story with alumni and aspiring students.

Hibbs is also leading the university through a challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many universities struggled, both UD’s Irving and Rome campuses opened for in-person, residential learning in the fall of 2020. He also worked with the Diocese of Dallas to establish a Homiletics Center at UD and initiated a new strategic plan for the university, the first such plan in nearly a decade.

Hibbs was previously dean of the Honors College and distinguished professor of Ethics and Culture at Baylor University, where he now holds the title dean emeritus. Before that, he was full professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at Boston College. Hibbs has written eight books, including three on the thought of Thomas Aquinas, and more than 30 scholarly articles. He has published more than 100 reviews and discussion articles on film, theater, art and higher education in a variety of venues including First Things, The Dallas Morning News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Atlantis, The Wall Street Journal and National Review.

More on Thomas S. Hibbs

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.

 

Provost Jonathan J. Sanford 

Incoming President Sanford came to the university as dean of Constantin College in 2015 and was elevated to provost in 2018. As provost, Sanford oversees all academic deans of the university’s four schools, the dean of the library, the dean of students, the dean of the Rome campus, Athletics, and Campus Ministry. He also oversees special outreach projects such as UD’s Studies on Catholic Faith and Culture, as well as the Office of Personal and Career Development.

At Hibbs’ invitation, Sanford managed the development of the university’s new strategic plan, and Board Chair Richard Husseini noted, “He is ideally suited to ensure the implementation of the strategic plan as president. Both as dean and as provost, he has excelled in strengthening the faculty and encouraging our students to excel in their studies and in their post-graduate appointments; developed a greater focus on grants and awards; built new philanthropic opportunities; strengthened UD’s Catholic identity; overseen the development of new programs and initiatives; and elevated the university’s reputation.”

Sanford, who holds the rank of professor and is tenured in the Philosophy Department, graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University in classical languages and philosophy in 1997, received his doctorate from the University of Buffalo, State University of New York in 2001, and received a postdoctoral fellowship from Fordham University in 2001-02. Sanford served at Franciscan University of Steubenville for 13 years before joining the University of Dallas in 2015. In his administrative work at Franciscan University, he held the positions of associate vice president for academic affairs and chair of philosophy, and also served in the role of the principal elected faculty representative.

Sanford has published widely on philosophical figures and topics and has made significant contributions especially in foundational questions in moral philosophy, as evidenced in Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics (The Catholic University of America Press, 2015 (paperback, 2019)). Sanford is currently writing a book on virtue and education. He lectures widely to both scholarly and popular audiences on a variety of topics. For the past three years, on the third Monday of each month, he has hosted the “Good News at UD” portion of the Good News Show on KATH 910. Sanford is a trustee of the Hildebrand Project, a member of the executive committee and the executive council of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, a member of the Dallas board of Legatus, a fellow of the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture, and a board member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, and is active in several other professional and academic organizations. His wife, Rebecca, is a registered nurse and founding board member of Mighty Is Her Call, a Catholic mothers’ ministry recognized by the Diocese of Dallas. The Sanfords have nine children and one granddaughter and live with their younger children in Irving, Texas.

 

More on Jonathan J. Sanford

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.

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.

Chief Financial Officer 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.

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, Sheth leads the university’s ongoing commitment to support and promote the strategic use of information technology that advances UD’s mission. 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.

Constantin College Interim Dean David Andrews

After completing a Bachelor of Science in mathematics at the University of Dallas, David Andrews, Ph.D., BS ’90, earned a Master of Science in industrial engineering from Purdue University in 1993. He continued his graduate studies at Rice University, earning both a Master of Science and a doctorate in statistics. Andrews returned to UD as an assistant professor in 1998.

Largely due to his successes in the classroom and forward-thinking teaching on high-performance computing, Andrews was awarded the SC12 HPC Educator Award, which provided him with a competitive grant to attend the International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis.

Apart from his teaching experience, Andrews has consulted and worked with a number of businesses, companies and nonprofits, including Texas Instruments, the award-winning political consulting firm Nasica, and the global nonprofit CARE. Andrews has served on and helped advise more than a dozen university committees including the Faculty Senate (2007-present), the Joint Committee on Business Education (2008-present) and the 403b Review Committee (2013-present), which oversees the university’s employee retirement benefits.

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.

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).

Ann & Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry Dean Theodore Whapham

Theodore “Ted” Whapham, a theologian specializing in Christology and Trinitarian theology, oversees the university’s undergraduate and graduate ministry programs, adult education courses and the University of Dallas Ministry Conference, the nation’s second largest Catholic ministry conference.

Previously, Whapham served as assistant professor and director of master’s degree programs at St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens, Fla.) where he taught courses at the undergraduate to doctorate level, as well as provided administrative oversight for the master of arts in pastoral ministry and master of divinity degree programs.

Whapham has written two books, including “The Term ‘Person’ in the Trinitarian Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg,” and has published articles in the Irish Theological Quarterly and the Encyclopedia of Christian Education, among others. He earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in historical and systematic theology from The Catholic University of America. He earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the University of Dayton.

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.

 

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