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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 20, 2009

Ploeger appointed Chaminade president

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Education Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bernard Ploeger

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Chaminade University's board of regents has named Brother Bernard Ploeger the school's new president.

Ploeger succeeds Sue Wesselkamper, who died Jan. 3 from cancer at age 66. Wesselkamper headed Hawai'i's only Catholic university for 13 years. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2005.

Ploeger has served the university as its executive vice president and provost since arriving at Chaminade in 2001. He has served as Chaminade's interim president twice first in 2005, when Wesselkamper was initially diagnosed, and then in fall 2008, when Wesselkamper again took a leave of absence.

His appointment begins immediately, said school spokeswoman Kapono Ryan.

"We are enthusiastic about our choice," said retired Adm. R.J. Zlatoper, chairman of Chaminade's board of regents. "He has long been a part of the leadership base at Chaminade University and has helped the university achieve successfully its goals during the last eight years."

Chaminade's regents voted unanimously yesterday to install Ploeger as the school's ninth president. He was one of three finalists chosen by the presidential selection committee, which went through rounds of interviews and meetings with students, staff, faculty and other constituencies.

The two others considered for the post were David B. House, who served as president of Saint Joseph's College of Maine from 1995 to 2007, and Gerard Voland, dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Although Ploeger didn't officially became part of Chaminade's administration in 2001, he worked closely with Wesselkamper in the 1990s to help rescue the struggling institution from financial trouble. At the time, the school had more than $3.8 million in operating debt, faculty were leaving, the school's accreditation was in doubt and enrollment had plummeted.

Ploeger served at the University of Dayton also a Marianist college as its vice president for administration from 1986 to 2001 before accepting Wesselkamper's invitation to join Chaminade.

More recently, Ploeger was considered the architect of Chaminade's 2008 strategic plan, Ryan said. He was also part of the school's "Transformation" campaign, which raised $66.5 million in eight years, she said.

Ploeger received his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1975. He also received his Master of Science degree in 1973 from Ohio State University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 from the University of Dayton.

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.