John Cech Selected as 18th President of Carroll College

Monday, March 5, 2018

HELENA, MONT. – The Carroll College Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that John Cech, PhD, has been selected as the 18th President of Carroll College.

The Board, in concert with the 13-member search committee, agreed that Cech would be a strong leader for the campus, and with his comprehensive knowledge of higher education in Montana, would make an immediate impact on the College as it continues to build on its core strengths moving forward.

“John Cech has a rare combination of skills and traits that make him the perfect fit for Carroll,” said John Walda, chair of the Carroll Board of Trustees.

He has a thorough knowledge of the challenges that face colleges in today’s world, and the experience and networks to deal with those challenges. In addition, he has a demonstrated commitment to making sure that students are successful, and his style is collaborative and inclusive. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he loves Carroll College and is devoted to its mission.”

Cech said he is honored to serve as Carroll’s next president and is looking forward to working alongside the students, faculty and staff to continue Carroll’s legacy of excellence.

“I am confident I have the experience, passion, and desire to lead Carroll forward to embrace a shared vision which will enable the College to further its amazing mission as one of our nation’s premier Catholic diocesan colleges focused on preparing students for life,” said Cech. “I believe in the power of education as a force for equality and social justice and I am a product of both public and Catholic education. The opportunity to serve and support Carroll’s students is my number one reason for joining the Carroll family.”

Cech has served in the Montana University System for the past 16 years, first as the leader of City College at MSU Billings, which doubled its enrollment and significantly expanded its campus footprint under Cech’s leadership. Cech is now in his eighth year as Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System, where he is responsible for Academic, Research, and Student Affairs for the State. “I am grateful to Commissioner Clayton Christian for his leadership and support during my time as Deputy Commissioner,” said Cech. 

Over the past year, the Montana University System has been recognized for its work through Complete College America as one of four states in the nation to make systemic advances in key initiatives around student success and completion. Cech has led the CCA efforts for Montana and was recently appointed by the Complete College America President as one of 50 CCA Fellows in the nation. 

Prior to his tenure with the Montana University System, Cech served Rocky Mountain College for 15 years, first as a faculty instructor, then as a director, and eventually as Dean of Community Services, Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. Cech earned a doctorate in higher education leadership, a master’s degree in nonprofit management, and a baccalaureate in business administration and computer information systems.

Cech is also looking forward to working with faculty and staff to underscore the importance of the liberal arts as the foundation of Carroll’s academic programs and to explore opportunities for expansion of graduate and undergraduate opportunities for students at the College. During his interview, he discussed his desire to engage faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees to create a shared vision and strategic plan for the future of Carroll College.  “Carroll’s future is so bright given its amazing academic reputation with outcomes such as highest athletic GPA in the NAIA conference, 85 percent acceptance rate into medical school, and nearly 100 percent acceptance rate into graduate schools,” said Cech. 

Prior to applying for the presidency, Cech and his wife Victoria already had a special familiarity with Carroll. “As the parents of a Saint (son Isaiah is a current junior), both Victoria and I believe in Carroll College, its mission and the large impact the Carroll experience has on students,” said Cech.

For the past several years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of the faculty, staff and Carroll community, the mission, and its Catholic identity. I’ve come to see firsthand that ‘Not for School, But for Life’, isn’t just some motto on a plaque. It’s something real and life-giving.”

Cech will assume the Carroll presidency in June 2018. He will replace Rev. Stephen Rowan, PhD, who has served as interim president for the college since August 1, 2017, after former President Thomas Evans, PhD, stepped down to accept the position of president at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

View Dr. Cech's curriculum vitae here.

About Carroll College

Carroll College, located in Montana’s state capital Helena, is a private, four-year, Catholic diocesan college providing undergraduate education to nearly 1,500 students. Founded in 1909, Carroll has distinguished itself as a pre-eminent and award-winning leader in academic programs including pre-medical, natural sciences, nursing, engineering, mathematics, the social sciences and the liberal arts. Students choose Carroll for its combination of exceptional academic programs, affordable tuition with generous financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and the strong close-knit community that exists on a beautiful campus in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.