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AQUINAS COLLEGE PRESIDENT ED BALOG ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

January 20, 2011 - Aquinas College President Ed Balog announced on Jan. 18, 2011, to the Board of Trustees his intention to retire on July 1, 2011.

Dr. Balog came to Aquinas College in 2000 as Provost and Dean of Faculty, and Professor of History. He added Interim President to his list of duties in 2006, and then became the sixth president of the College in 2007.

“It is not possible for me to adequately express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the President of Aquinas College. During what will be an 11-year tenure as Provost and then President, I worked with some of the most talented and dedicated faculty and staff that I have encountered during a career spanning nearly four decades,” stated Dr. Balog. “This opportunity has been one of the great joys of my life."

During Dr. Balog’s tenure, he implemented an aggressive and highly successful enrollment and retention plan. Over the past five years, the size of the freshman class increased by 24%. The school’s endowment also increased by 50%.

Dr. Balog also drove a number of sustainability-related achievements, including:
• The opening of the Grace Hauenstein Library, which earned LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
• Creation of a student-run, faculty-directed Center for Sustainability on campus to implement sustainable business practices within the College’s internal operations
• Creation of the nation’s first undergraduate degree in Sustainable Business, followed by the launch of a master’s degree program in the same discipline
• Development of the first college partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County to underwrite a LEED certified gut rehab of a home in southwest Grand Rapids.

Also under Dr. Balog’s leadership, Aquinas College completed the renovation of the second floor of the Academic Building into faculty offices, classrooms, and student lounge areas; built a 64-bed student apartment building on campus; opened the Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center; and became the first member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference to install an artificial playing surface on its soccer field.

The Science Initiative, a collaborative campaign of the Natural Sciences Department, the Nursing Department, the Mathematics Department, and the Advancement Department, was established under Dr. Balog's leadership in 2003. The Initiative has been successful in establishing support for scholarships and undergraduate research projects, support for maintaining and licensing research equipment, and funding for the purchase of scientific instrumentation to renovate and modernize classrooms and labs.

Dr. Balog promoted the partnership between the Aquinas Emeritus College and the Osher Foundation to establish the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Aquinas College, part of a national network of lifelong learning institutes offering a broad range of intellectually stimulating, non-credit courses targeted toward the over-50 population.

He has recently approved the "Fostering Success Scholarship" program, which awards Aquinas scholarships to two young adults each year who are aging out of the Michigan Foster Care System. The scholarship is designed to remove barriers to higher education by providing tuition, room, board, and books to its recipients.

Msgr. William Duncan, Chair, Aquinas College Board of Trustees, says the board will soon establish a search process to select the college’s seventh president.

"On behalf of the Aquinas College Board of Trustees I wish to express our gratitude to Dr. Balog for his dedicated years of service to our College as both President and Provost. His efforts have enabled Aquinas to move forward in its mission to serve its students and the community. We wish Ed and his wife, Catherine, God's blessings on their future plans." Msgr. Duncan said.