Introducing... CLU’s New President
John R. Sladek, Ph.D., sixth president of California Lutheran University
Photo: Erik Hagen '04
The Board of Regents of California Lutheran University has named John Sladek, Ph.D., as CLU’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Most recently Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center, Sladek began his official duties on Sept. 11.
The Board of Regents approved the selection of Sladek after meeting in June with the 11-member presidential search committee chaired by Regent Kate McLean.
“Dr. Sladek’s distinguished career as a leader and scholar and his commitment to the distinctive mission and excellence of Lutheran higher education uniquely qualify him for the tasks ahead,” said William Kane, Chair of the Board of Regents.
A renowned researcher and a successful administrator, Sladek’s scholarly work is in the field of neurology and anatomy. He served as Vice Chancellor of Research and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at University of Colorado at Denver from 2001-2006. Previously, he held faculty leadership positions at Chicago Medical School (1991-2001) and University of Rochester (1982-1991).
An undergraduate alumnus of Carthage College, with degrees in biology and chemistry, Sladek received his master of science in biostructure from Northwestern University Medical School in 1968. He went on to earn his doctorate in anatomy from Chicago Medical School in 1971. His teaching, research and publishing career began at Chicago Medical School and continued at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“With a strong background in research and administration, Dr. Sladek brings a wealth of experience and accomplishment to CLU as the University develops its new strategic plan and makes an important transition into its second half century,” Kane pointed out.
In Rochester, Chicago and Denver, Dr. Sladek has shown a strategic aptitude for leading successful programs and campus building campaigns. He was most recently involved in the construction of a new 400-acre, $2 billion campus while overseeing the consolidation of two Denver campuses to create an urban university of distinction with a liberal arts component. He was also charged with developing a new office that oversees all research for a nationally ranked biomedical enterprise.
Sladek, who will also serve on the biology faculty at CLU, has a keen understanding of Lutheran liberal arts education having received his undergraduate degree from one of CLU’s sister institutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He remains closely connected to his undergraduate alma mater as a 10-year member of the Carthage College Board of Trustees where he serves as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences Advisory Committee.
Luther S. Luedtke, Ph.D., who served as CLU president for nearly 14 years, resigned in December to accept a position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Education Development Center in Newton, Mass.
A nationwide presidential search, overseen by a committee representing a broad spectrum of CLU constituents, was conducted over a four-month period.
“The selection of Dr. Sladek as the sixth president is an important step for CLU given the progress that the University is making both academically and physically. He will be a crucial addition to CLU’s leadership team, rounding out the impressive blend of talents already present in the CLU faculty and administration,” noted McLean.
“I’m honored to have been selected to lead a rising star among America’s universities,” Sladek said. One of his goals as president will be to lead CLU in increasing its national rankings by creating more master’s degree and doctoral programs with a special focus on expanding the sciences and the arts.
“I have been impressed by CLU’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate studies, the high quality faculty and students, its strong sense of tradition and community, and its very evident potential for growth and greatness,” said Sladek after accepting the position. “I am aware of the president’s need to articulate the overall mission and Lutheran identity of the University. I look forward to working with the Lutheran Church and the larger faith community,” he adds.
Sladek and his wife, Celia, a professor of physiology and biophysics at University of Colorado School of Medicine, have three grown children: Jonathan, Stefan and Jessica.
American Historian Becomes New Provost »