The Board of Directors of Valparaiso University announced Wednesday it has named José D. Padilla as its next President. Padilla most recently served as Vice President, University Counsel and Secretary of the University of Colorado System. Prior to that, he served 15 years in a number of senior leadership roles at DePaul University in Chicago, the most recent role as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. The announcement said Padilla was selected after an exhaustive search over the course of over a year which included more than 100 candidates. He will serve as President-Elect beginning on January 1st, 2021, and will work with Interim President Colette Irwin-Knott to transition the role before becoming President on or before March 1st.
“We are delighted to have found such an exceptional leader for our University,” said Frederick G. Kraegel ’70, Chair of the Board of Directors. “José’s deep and varied background in all aspects of higher education make him ideally suited to lead Valpo.” “I also want to thank Colette Irwin-Knott for serving as Interim President these past months, so we are able to have such a positive, long-term outcome,” said Kraegel.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made our search process especially challenging,” said John Draheim ’64, chair of the Board’s Search Committee. “The Committee was determined to be both deliberate and thorough to be sure we identified the top candidate. We believe we have made an excellent choice with José.”
“I am really looking forward to working with José,” said Robert D. Hansen, Jr. ’82, Chair-Elect of the Board of Directors. “I am confident he will provide the insightful leadership Valpo needs to navigate these unprecedented times in higher education.”
“I am humbled and grateful to be asked to lead Valparaiso University,” said Padilla. “Its storied past, exceptional programs, devoted faculty, motivated students, committed alumni and strong Lutheran Christian ethos all attracted me to this incredible opportunity,” Padilla said.“Leading Valpo will allow me to practice my Christian faith in the campus community,” Padilla added. “This will enable me to join Valpo’s tradition of embracing the intersection of faith and learning.”