River Forest Villager of the Year runner-up: Donna Carroll

President of Dominican University cites both 'positives and the pain'

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Donna Carroll is a 57-year-old single woman—with more than 3,600 kids.

"Or none, depending upon your perspective," said the Dominican University president and a River Forest runner-up in Wednesday Journal's annual Villager of the Year.

Carroll is in her 18th year as president, and said she's proud of what Dominican has achieved in 2011.

In May, the school became the country's first university to enter Cuba for a study abroad program. There were two Fulbright Scholars named from the university. And the school took on a national leadership role in campus-based interfaith dialogue by welcoming Interfaith Youth Core Founder and White House appointee Eboo Patel as the year's Lund Gill Chair.

In addition, the school has hosted several other standing-room-only speakers and performers, Carroll said.

But as the school's head strategic planner, she said she is always focused on its next steps. Those include hiring more faculty members, increasing fundraising for student scholarships, advancing technology and constructing a new building on the Priory Campus at 7200 W. Division St.

Carroll said she's also excited about initiatives in the works through the school's Butler Children's Literature Center and Center for Global Peace through Commerce, and Dominican's collaboration with U.S. Bank on economic education.

But 2011 saw challenges, too. In this economy, the unpredictability of enrollment, philanthropy and state and federal funding has made leadership difficult, Carroll said.

She will continue to fundraise and build relationships throughout the next year. Being an engaged neighbor and resource is a big part of planning for the future, she said. The school working with the OPRF Community Leadership Program, OPRF Symphony and the River Forest Park District demonstrate the importance of partnerships, she said.

Looking back, Carroll said it was pretty gutsy of the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters to hire a young New York woman as their first lay president. But to this day, she says they are her greatest champions, "through all the positives and the pain."

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JSchutt from Worth  

Posted: January 7th, 2012 12:48 PM

I am a DU Alum from the adult program that meets at the Priory. DU changed my life and I will forever be grateful. I live in the far south 'burbs and commuted to campus. DU faculty and students brings tax dollars to your community. I shopped and continue to do so in OPRF. My daughter, also a DU alum also does the same, still shopping and meeting friends at OPRF stores and restaurants. I often bring out of town guests to your tourist attractions. That's only part of what DU has done for OPRF

Tom from RF  

Posted: January 7th, 2012 12:43 PM

RF PD is mentioned by Ms. Carroll as one of her "partners". Has she engaged her neighbor partner - the RF PD about the HIGH Rise dorm "strategic" plans for the Priory property that Ms. Carroll is focused on for her 10 year "GROWTH" plan?

Enuf is Enuf  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 2:41 PM

Just because the gov set up a system to "help" those less fortunate, does not mean we should bend over backwards to a institution that is very well off, and has taken much more from the community, than put back in. Ms. Carroll cares more about her resume than the community. It is absurd. As to the percent, do not care if it is 53 or 1 - you decide. BTW, they only own a part of the land, believe the rest is owned by RF Park District?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 11:36 AM

Wow, a Catholic Sertus!

53 Percenter from Oak Park  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 11:00 AM

Enuf, what is your problem with another building at the Priory? It's DU's land to do with as they wish. It's also a huge parcel that could easily absorb a building with zero impact on the area. And please get over yourself. No university, public or private, pays property taxes. Like it or not, that's how we do things in the US. DU is an extraordinary civic asset. And can we please stop this 1% Occupy nonsense too? The only important % is the 53% of us who pay income taxes to support the 100%.

Enuf is Enuf  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 10:55 AM

We pay our taxes, thank you! Also, no reason to post under two names @Enough. Any non profit must show how it benefits the community. The traffic and the crowd brought in by Dominican - has gotten too large. We have reached the proverbial "tipping point" Dominican wants to put up 10 story dorm at the Priory. We will see how the Priory Neighbors and the RF community will react - once the public hearings begin.

Enough already  

Posted: January 5th, 2012 9:56 AM

Enuf pay your taxes!!


Posted: January 5th, 2012 8:37 AM

Dominican already owns the Priory, perhaps? and they are already not paying taxes on the property and I did not see that they were asking for any money from the village, so what does it matter?

Enuf is Enuf   

Posted: January 5th, 2012 8:22 AM

A new building at Priory - WHY?? Please Explain Ms. Carroll and WJ, please dig into this. This needs to stop now, letting them take over RF. This is a residential community, AND WE PAY A LOT OF taxes. Dominican - PAYS Nothing. Dominican has enough buildings already. Neighbors - let's get ready to NOT let this happen. This is the 1% railing against the 99%

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