Meet the university's senior leadership

Interim President John Plotts

On May 14, 2018 the board of trustees announced that Dr. John G. Plotts, the University's Executive Vice President for enrollment and student affairs, would serve as Interim President while the university seeks its next president.

Dr. Plotts previously held the position of vice president for enrollment and accreditation at Parker University where he restructured and reengineered the college's planning and evaluation process, implemented a new strategic retention program, raised more than $1 million through strategic business partnerships, and a host of other accomplishments. He was also the dean of enrollment management at Parker University for more than two years. Some of his many accomplishments in that role include creating an enrollment management model, establishing targeted recruiting efforts, and enrolling a class with the highest GPA in the school's history.

Prior to his work at Parker University, Dr. Plotts held the position of director at the Howard Center for Christian Studies and the following positions at Dallas Baptist University: vice president for executive and student affairs, vice president for enrollment and administrative affairs, dean of the college of adult education, and director of admissions.

Dr. Plotts received his Ed.D. from the University of North Texas, his master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, and bachelor's degree from Summit University of Pennsylvania.

Provost Jonathan J. Sanford 

A nationally recognized ethics scholar, Sanford previously served as associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS). At UD, he is also a professor of philosophy.

Sanford led the project to establish Franciscan University Press, which was founded in June 2014, and served as its first director. He also developed and oversaw faculty development funding at FUS and was a critical part of the creation and implementation of a new core curriculum. The leader and organizer of a number of symposia on Catholic higher education at FUS, Sanford was active in the university community, delivering lectures and informal talks for many different organizations and departments. In the wider Catholic community, Sanford recorded a yearlong radio series on metaphysics for a Catholic radio station and has been interviewed on occasion for EWTN and Relevant Radio.

A widely published author on the topics of virtue theory and metaphysics, Sanford’s most recent book is “Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics.”

Sanford earned a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and philosophy from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a doctorate in philosophy from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Brian Murray 

Brian Murray is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and an Associate Professor of Management. His areas of responsibility include strategic planning, finance and business office, information technology, construction and facilities management, and human resources.

Dr. Murray previously served the University as Associate Provost and in the College of Business as the Interim Dean, Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and was the College's first Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs. Prior to his appointment at the University of Dallas, he held faculty positions at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Texas - San Antonio.

Dr. Murray received his doctorate from Cornell University where he concentrated his studies in human resources and economic statistics. His academic areas of expertise include compensation, careers, retirement, staffing, and the evaluation of human resource programs. He has taught courses in the areas of business statistics and quantitative analysis, career development, and human resource management. His professional experience includes personnel administration, compensation analysis and planning, university budgeting, academic operations, and college leadership.

Dr. Murray has published a number of research articles in business and higher education journals. His work has included studies of skill based pay, compensation structure's impact on organizational financial performance, employee retirement savings plans and portfolio risk choices, human resource planning, quality training, and job search. His work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Research in Higher Education, Personnel Psychology, and Decision Sciences, among others. His current research is focused on employees' retirement savings plan financial decisions, compensation, and benefits administration.

Dr. Murray is active in community and professional service. He serves on the finance council of the Church of the Incarnation, and has served on the board of the Irving Symphony Orchestra. Previously he served on the Executive Board of the San Antonio Human Resource Management Association as the Vice President for Research & Development. He has consulted on employee surveying and compensation program design for private and public-sector organizations, and provided pro bono membership surveying on human resource and workforce development issues for professional associations.

Dr. Murray has been recognized for his teaching, research, and service with the Haggar Fellow designation, Haggar Presidential Award(s), Outstanding Research Article of the Year from the Travel & Tourism Research Association, Combined Teaching, Research & Service Award (UTSA), and the E. Lou Curry Teaching Excellence Award.

Vice President for Advancement Joan Canty 

Joan Canty oversees the Office of Advancement. She brings 20 years of advancement experience in alumni relations, major gifts, campaign management, planned giving, public relations, special events and advancement services.

Previously, Canty served as vice president for advancement at Fort Worth’s Texas Wesleyan University, where she was a significant and accomplished fundraiser during her 12-year tenure. Canty also served as director of alumni relations at the University of Dallas from 1998-2001.

Canty earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University New Orleans and a master’s degree in English and communication studies from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Vice President for Legal and Board Services and General Counsel Karin Rilley

General Counsel

Karin W. Rilley provides legal counsel for the University of Dallas. Previously, she was associate general counsel for the University of North Texas System Office of General Counsel. Prior to joining the staff at the University of North Texas System, Rilley was executive legal counsel and chief operating officer for the largest public school district in Ohio, the Columbus City School District.

Rilley also served the State of Ohio as general counsel for the Ohio Department and State Board of Education and as an assistant attorney general providing advice and litigation services for various state education clients. Rilley was a partner in the Cleveland law firm of Britton, Smith, Peters and Kalail and an associate with Scariano, Ellch, Himes, Straga and Petrarca in Chicago with a focus on issues in primary and secondary education. Rilley graduated with honors from both Rutgers University and the University of Akron School of Law.

Vice President, Dean and Director of the Rome Campus Peter Hatlie

Director of the Rome Campus, Dr. Peter Hatlie, was born and raised in Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in Classics from St. Olaf College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval and Byzantine History from Fordham University. He came to UD Rome in 1999 after holding positions in the U.S., Bulgaria, Turkey and the Netherlands. He was the acting Academic Director of the Rome Program in 2003, the Academic Director of the Rome Program from Fall of 2005 to Spring 2008, and is now the Dean and Director of the Rome Campus. Dr. Hatlie also teaches History and Ancient Greek.

Constantin College Interim Dean Sally Hicks

In addition to her duties as Interim Dean, Dr. Sally Hicks currently serves as the Chair and Professor of Physics at UD, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kentucky, and Director of the Electrical Engineering and Physics Dual-Degree Program with the University of Texas, Arlington. She also directs the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics, after UD was awarded a $290k scholarship grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support undergraduate female students in those areas of study.

Her research is funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration to complete neutron scattering measurements on nuclei of interest for energy production and national security, as well as to help us better understand how neutrons interact with matter. This research has included many undergraduate students who have gone on to become scientists, engineers, high school teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in other occupations.

Braniff Graduate School Dean Joshua Parens

Although Joshua Parens has taught at the University of Dallas for 16 years, he only recently assumed his current role as dean of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts. Like all UD professors, he teaches widely, but he especially enjoys studying political philosophy with graduate students. As the son of a Shoah survivor, his lifelong interest has been in understanding spiritedness, love of one’s own, or what late moderns call “rootedness,” and its place in the economy of human life, which may be the first question of political philosophy.

He has a book forthcoming in spring 2016, titled "Leo Strauss and the Recovery of Medieval Political Philosophy," which will be the first title in a book series published by University of Rochester Press and Boydell & Brewer, which he is co-editing with Douglas Kries of Gonzaga University. He has published many articles on Alfarabi, Maimonides, and Spinoza and two books on Alfarabi on Plato and Aristotle, respectively with SUNY Press: "Metaphysics as Rhetoric" (1995) and "An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions" (2006). His last book "Maimonides and Spinoza: Their Conflicting Views of Human Nature" was published by the University of Chicago Press (2012). He co-edited with Joseph Macfarland the second edition of the classic anthology by Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi, "Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook" (Cornell University Press, 2011). He also has writing projects on Bacon, Descartes, Montesquieu and Heidegger.

Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business Dean Brett Landry 

Brett J. L. Landry is the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business' dean and associate professor of cybersecurity. For more than twenty years, he has worked in information security in the public and private sectors. He has taught and consulted in the U.S., Europe and South America and has published and presented numerous articles in the areas of cybersecurity, IT ethics, IT management, network architecture, and disaster recovery. He also lectures domestically and internationally on IT and cybersecurity issues.

Landry earned his doctorate from Mississippi State University and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). His information security expertise includes risk management, disaster recovery, technology education, and change management.

Landry has been instrumental in the college's AACSB Accreditation efforts, the graduate business MS in technology programs, university technology initiatives, and is responsible for the University of Dallas's certification as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Ann & Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry Dean Theodore Whapham

Theodore “Ted” Whapham, a theologian specializing in Christology and Trinitarian theology, oversees the university’s undergraduate and graduate ministry programs, adult education courses and the University of Dallas Ministry Conference, the nation’s second largest Catholic ministry conference.

Previously, Whapham served as assistant professor and director of master’s degree programs at St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens, Fla.) where he taught courses at the undergraduate to doctorate level, as well as provided administrative oversight for the master of arts in pastoral ministry and master of divinity degree programs.

Whapham has written two books, including “The Term ‘Person’ in the Trinitarian Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg,” and has published articles in the Irish Theological Quarterly and the Encyclopedia of Christian Education, among others. He earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in historical and systematic theology from The Catholic University of America. He earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the University of Dayton.

Dean of University Libraries and Research Cherie Hohertz

Cherie Hohertz, dean of university libraries and research, has been with the University of Dallas for 13 years.  Before serving as dean, she held the position of access services and systems librarian in the Cowan - Blakley Memorial Library.  She has served the university as an adjunct instructor in the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business and is currently the staff accompanist for the music department.

Hohertz holds a bachelor’s of music in piano performance from Millsaps College and a master's of library science from Texas Woman’s University.  Her research interests include the information seeking behaviors of non-traditional students.  Her most recent publications include articles on using technology to deliver library services to distance education students.

Board of Trustees

  • The Most Reverend Edward J. Burns, Chancellor
  • Thomas Zellers ‘79, Chairman
  • Richard Husseini, ‘88, Vice Chairman
  • Bridgett Wagner, ‘81, Secretary

  • Win Bell, Treasurer
  • Charles E. Baumann, ‘88
  • J. Barry Clark
  • Lee M. Dinkel
  • The Most Reverend Michael Duca
  • The Most Reverend Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell
  • Dexter J. Freeman, II, ‘11
  • Louis J. Grabowsky
  • Patrick E. Haggerty, Jr., ‘67, ‘68
  • Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson
  • Gregory Hoelscher, ‘77
  • Cary Hyden, ‘80
  • William Keffler
  • The Most Reverend Gregory Kelly, ‘78, ‘82
  • Annmarie Kelly, ‘91
  • Mike Magusiak
  • Mary T. Manning
  • Randall Muck
  • Thomas M. Nealon, ‘87
  • Joseph O. Neuhoff, Jr.
  • Terry O‘Halloran, ‘83
  • Nathaniel “Tan” Parker, ‘93
  • Laura Felis Quinn, ‘86
  • Mary Ritter, ‘85
  • Len Ruby
  • Paul Rydberg, ‘88
  • The Most Reverend Mark Seitz
  • Nicholas T. Serafy, Jr.
  • Patrick V. Stark
  • Julie Weber, ‘91
  • Jean White, ‘86


Board of Trustees Names John G. Plotts as Interim President

The University of Dallas Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Executive Vice President John G. Plotts, Ed.D., as interim president of the university. Plotts joined the university in December of 2008, initially serving in the roles of associate provost and dean of undergraduate admissions.

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Professor of English Eileen Gregory, PhD, Named 2018 Piper Professor

"That's what our teaching, and all our talk about the reflective life, boils down to -- efforts to keep brilliance in our hearts, to remember the lightness that is native to our spirit," said 2018 Piper Professor Eileen Gregory, Ph.D, professor of English. The Piper Award honors 10 professors annually in Texas colleges and universities for outstanding achievements in their profession and is widely regarded as the most prestigious award of its kind in the state.

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10 Things To Know About Your Upcoming Graduation

On Sunday, May 13, the university community will gather on the Braniff Mall to celebrate and honor its newly minted graduates. From Baccalaureate Mass to Commencement, here are 10 things to know about UD's upcoming graduation weekend.

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