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CHESNEY, Thom (Owatonna, MN, June 7, 1966-- ) On February 26, 2019, Thom Chesney was introduced as the new president, and second male leader, of CLARKE UNIVERSITY. He succeeded Joanne BURROWS who served as the president since 2006 and was scheduled to retire on July 15, 2019. Since 2011, Chesney had served as president of Brookhaven College, a school with over than 13,000 students that was part of the Dallas County (Texas) Community College District. (1)

Chesney received his bachelor's degree in Spanish and minor in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his master's degree in creative writing from Minnesota State University and his Ph.D. in English literature from Florida State University. His prior higher-education experience included faculty and administrative roles at the University of Texas, Dallas; Pennsylvania College of Technology, Texas Wesleyan University and Whitman College. He was an associate provost for student success and assessment at the University of Texas and vice-president of academic affairs and provost at Collin College. (2)

Clarke University had recently announced it would eliminate seven programs, including drama, musical theatre and art history. After news of his appointment had been made, Chesney said he would look into how the arts could thrive at Clarke without those majors. (3)

Clarke officials cited Chesey's previous work increasing student retention, enrollment and graduation rates, efforts in public/private partnerships, international engagement and faculty and staff development. (4) He was a member of the Modern Language Association, South Central Modern Language Association, College Council English, Composers, Authors and Artists American of which he was president since 1999. (5)



1. Hinga, Allie, "Clarke Welcomes New President," Telegraph Herald, February 27, 2019, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. Wong, Allison, "Clarke University Announces New President," KCRG, Online: https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Clarke-University-announces-new-president-506395011.html

4. Hinga

5. "Thom D. Chesney," Prabook-World Biographical Encyclopedia, Inc. Online: https://prabook.com/web/thom_d.chesney/641470