June 3, 2024

Tim Kirley Shares His To-Do List‎ as CGU’s New, Interim President

Interim President Tim Kirley with students

Tim Kirley says his first order of business as interim president at CGU is to listen.

“I take on this role with a sense of humility and purpose,” says Kirley, who served for 10 years on the CGU Board of Trustees, including the final six as chair. “My first priority will be to hear the perspectives of many in our community who believe in the important role that CGU plays in higher education and beyond. During my time on the board, I came to appreciate the passion that so many people have for this place.”

Kirley assumes the presidency following a vote of confidence from the Board in May. He succeeds Len Jessup, who served as president of CGU for six years.

He says interim in his title does not mean he will simply be a caretaker until a permanent successor is named. To the contrary, he is on a mission to help ensure CGU’s future for the long term.

“The university’s tuition-dependent model is not sustainable, especially during a time of such major disruption throughout higher education,” he says. “We need to be nimble for the inevitable changes, and the time to start addressing them is now.”

Provost Michelle Bligh is leading a committee charged with identifying new models, assessing revenue sources and the curricula to meet the needs of students. Findings and recommendations will be shared in a transparent way.

“I’m confident we will forge a successful path, but it will require significant collaboration,” Kirley says. “I’m eager to meet with a broad spectrum of our university community over the summer and fall to hear perspectives, ideas, and concerns. As we approach our centennial in 2025, this is a great opportunity to position CGU to meet challenges and embrace opportunities.”

Kirley said he believes in the transformative power of higher education, both in improving individual lives and benefiting society. He was the first in his family to earn a graduate degree—an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis in 1997. His education helped propel him in the financial services industry, where he spent the majority of his career at Edward Jones, retiring in 2018 as the chief executive of operations in Canada.

“Throughout my career with Edward Jones, Peter Drucker’s teaching and his focus on the human dimension shaped our thoughts and actions, and I expect those teachings and that focus will again provide inspiration and insight during my tenure. I also believe in the importance of data, but as Drucker pointed out, data alone does not suffice. It must be integrated with strategy, and it always devolves into work.

“I look forward to working with the university community as we prepare for CGU’s next 100 years.”