April 17, 2003
Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., has been re-appointed to a second three-year
term as president of St. Mary’s University, the oldest and largest Catholic
university in Texas and the Southwest, Jack Biegler, incoming chairman of
the Board of Trustees, announced April 17.
Cotrell is the 12th president and first lay chief executive of St. Mary’s,
nationally recognized for academic excellence and service to the community.
St. Mary’s is administered by the Society of Mary (Marianists), a teaching
order of Catholic priests and brothers that brought higher learning to San
Antonio in 1852.
“Dr. Cotrell is a servant leader who embodies the spirit of St. Mary’s and
the Marianist values of building community, service to society and
scholarship,” Biegler said. “His four decades of service to his alma mater
testifies to his abiding sense of mission, commitment to educational
excellence and civic engagement for all students,” Biegler said.
Since taking the helm in 2000, Cotrell has implemented a series of
initiatives designed to strengthen St. Mary’s programs and services to meet
the educational challenges of a growing urban population. St. Mary’s is a
strong force for economic development throughout the region with an annual
economic impact in excess of $100 million.
A master plan to revitalize the campus now features the $22 million Alumni
Athletics and Convocation Center, including the 3,500-seat Bill Greehey
Arena, as a community venue and a renovated Charles Francis Hall, which
houses the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the student Health
Center. In addition, the 21st Century Leadership Center debuted and
construction will begin in fall 2003 on the Gateway Project, a plan that
accents St. Mary’s historic beauty and honored traditions, and an
Information Technology Center will come on-line early in the 2003-2004
Among Cotrell’s top priorities, recruitment and retention of top students,
strengthening the Catholic and Marianist tradition of St. Mary’s, advancing
the academic mission, especially in information technologies and new
academic programs, maintaining a diverse student body, faculty and
administration, as well as increasing the general endowment for essential
needs, including student scholarships and faculty development and there has
been an increase of some $500,000 in new scholarships in the past year
alone. Implementation of revised core curriculum will be accomplished by
fall 2005. During the Sesquicentennial anniversary celebration in 2002,
St. Mary’s was rededicated to its patroness and the newly-created position
of assistant chancellor for Marianist identity was created.
Cotrell, a tenured professor in political science, is well known for his
expertise on issues involving election systems and minority participation.
During the current academic year, he served the city of San Antonio as vice
chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Integrity and Trust in Local Government
and was the campaign finance subcommittee coordinator. Moreover, he has
presented his research results on Capitol Hill to the Congress and Senate,
as well as testifying in numerous federal voting rights cases.
Having received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science
from St. Mary’s in 1962 and 1964, respectively, Cotrell went on to earn a
doctorate in olitical science from the University of Arizona in 1970. His
assignment was at Texas A&M-Kingsville (then Texas A&I University) from
965-66. In addition, he was a fellow the
Center for Behavioral and Social Research at Wesleyan University in
Connecticut during 1969-70.
He has served St. Mary’s in areas of increasing responsibility since he
began teaching there in 1966. From 1971-73, he was chairman of the
Department of Political Science, then director of the graduate program in
political science and public administration, dean of Arts and Sciences and
its successor, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1983-86,
and assistant to the president for planning and institutional research in
1983. Cotrell was academic vice president for 14 years from 1986-99 before
becoming acting president.
Among his honors, he received the Marianist Heritage Award in 1985,
Distinguished Alumnus award in 1992, Henry B. Gonzalez Hispanic Achievement
Award from the St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association in 1994, and the Career
Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association in 1995 in
recognition of 25 years of outstanding scholarship, teaching, civil rights
research and service to the Latino community.
Cotrell is married to the former Abbie Massey. They have four sons.