MANITOWOC, Wis. — Silver Lake College’s board of trustees has announced that Dr. Chris E. Domes will be stepping down as president. Dr. Domes informed the board of his decision to accept the presidency of Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania. He will continue to serve in his role as president of Silver Lake College through June.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the students, faculty, and staff of Silver Lake College. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to have served as a leader in this community. My wife, Mary, and I have grown to love Manitowoc and the Lakeshore. We have made many lifetime friends here and will always stay connected to this wonderful place, no matter where life takes us.”
Dr. Domes added that this was a difficult decision. “As much as Mary and I have loved our time here, this opportunity at Neumann University is the right choice for us at this point in our lives,” he said. “Important in our decision-making is the fact that the move will take us closer to our parents and family.”
Dr. Domes joined Silver Lake College as president in 2013. During his tenure, the college has experienced a period of transformation. This has included the opening of the Franciscan Center for Music Education and Performance and the renovation of the campus dining facility. Dr. Domes has raised in excess of $4 million to support scholarships, and the creation of the Ariens Family Welcome Center, the Endries Family Heritage Room and Patio, the Robert and Diane Vanne Lawler Reflection Garden, and a state-of-the-art Nursing Wing, which includes labs and classrooms.
In addition to physical changes on the campus, the college developed new academic programs during Dr. Domes’ tenure. These programs include a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Actuarial Science, Graphic Design, a Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Development, and Bachelor of Music in Performance and Pedagogy.
“I am gratified to have played a role in the transformation of the college during the past four years,” he said. “The physical and programmatic changes across the campus have enhanced the environment for learning and student success for years to come.”
Dr. Domes embraced Silver Lake College’s Catholic Franciscan mission and at the same time led the 81-year-old liberal arts institution in new strategic directions. Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, Silver Lake College officially adopted the Work College Model, making it the first Catholic College in the nation to embrace this approach to educating the whole student. The college also joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and will field both women’s softball and women’s soccer next fall.
“I congratulate Dr. Domes on this new leadership opportunity at Neumann University and thank him for his dedication to Silver Lake College. He and his wife, Mary, have made a lasting impact on not only the college, but the greater Manitowoc community. Under his leadership, the college has developed creative strategic initiatives that are mission-focused and centered on student success,” said Eric Volcheff, board chair.
The Silver Lake College board of trustees will meet in the next few weeks to discuss a leadership succession plan for the college. “Silver Lake College is on a trajectory of growth and a strong future thanks to Dr. Domes’ leadership. We will miss him and his wife, Mary, but we are happy that they will continue to serve and contribute to Catholic Franciscan higher education at Neumann University,” said Dan McGinty, president and CEO of Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries.
Silver Lake College is a four-year, private liberal arts college in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, founded in 1935 by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, who continue to sponsor the college.
Neumann University is a comprehensive, Catholic university founded in the Franciscan tradition, which emphasizes respect for individuals, concern for the environment, and social responsibility. The sponsoring community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, established the institution in 1965. The University serves approximately 3,000 students offering undergraduate degrees in a broad variety of subjects, three doctoral programs, six master's degree programs, and an accelerated bachelor's degree program for adults.
“We leave Silver Lake College with mixed emotions. Both Mary and I feel proud of the close bonds that have developed between the college and the surrounding Lakeshore community. We have enjoyed the opportunity to bring the community and the college closer together,” Dr. Domes said. “As Mary and I move to Neumann University, you will hold a special place in our hearts and we will look back on our time here with great fondness. We extend good wishes for Silver Lake College’s continued success.”
Dr. Domes has served as the 10th president of Silver Lake College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in counseling from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. Dr. Domes earned his doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His career spans 31 years in Catholic higher education, including a decade at St. Bonaventure and 17 years at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. His impact on Catholic higher education has been significant and for the last four years Silver Lake College has been the beneficiary of his extensive knowledge and enthusiastic leadership.