Presidential Search

John Cech Selected as 18th President of Carroll College

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. 

Read the Helena Independent Record's coverage of the announcement

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. 

Watch Wake Up Montana's coverage of the announcement

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.

The Selection Process

The Board of Trustees of Carroll College invites nominations and applications for its 18th president to assume office in the summer of 2018. Located in Montana's State Capitol, Helena, in the Rocky Mountains, Carroll is a private, residential, Catholic, diocesan College known for academic excellence in both the liberal arts and pre-professional programs.

Carroll will give preference to candidates who have had experience in higher education as a faculty member and/or who have shown success with administrative responsibilities. Carroll is also seeking a president who understands and appreciates the culture of small private, faith-based colleges, who understands Carroll’s academic mission and values, and who understands and has demonstrated experience dealing strategically with admissions, retention, financial aid, curriculum, diversity and inclusiveness, developing new revenue sources, and allocating and reallocating resources to support effective new strategic initiatives. Carroll will also give preference to candidates who have demonstrated successful fundraising, who have experience with global initiatives, and who understand the role of the co-curriculum, including athletics and service, in the educational experience of Carroll’s students. Finally, Carroll is looking for an active Catholic who will continue Carroll’s tradition of welcoming students of all faiths and who can work effectively and productively both with a senior management team and a Board of Trustees deeply committed to the College and to best practices.

Fifty-five percent of Carroll’s approximately 1375 undergraduates come from states other than Montana; 43% are from Montana and 17 students are international, representing 12 countries. Carroll students have high praise for the dedication, talents, and accessibility of both faculty and staff members. Carroll graduates go on to highly ranked professional and graduate programs and/or to successful careers. Carroll’s Talking Saints forensics team has for the past 27 years either won or shared the Northwest Forensics Conference title. Nearly 400 students participate in intercollegiate athletics through the NAIA Division I Frontier and Cascade Conferences.

In the past five years, Carroll’s campus has undergone a significant transformation. Major projects, such as the new Hunthausen Activity Center and All Saints Chapel, were generously funded by the nearly complete MIND BODY SPIRIT capital campaign. In addition, new chemistry labs that foster collaborative student-faculty research and a black box theatre providing state-of-the-art performance space have helped expand Carroll's academic and extra-curricular offerings. During the past five years, including the campaign, Carroll has raised $45.5 million.

To learn more about Carroll, please review the Presidential Search Intitutional Profile


The presidential search committee will begin a review of applications immediately and continue work until an appointment is made. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by January 8, 2018 and include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and five professional references with e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. References will not be contacted without prior authorization from the applicant. Applications should be sent electronically (MS Word or PDF) to:

Please direct nominations and inquiries to:

Jamie Ferrare, Ph.D.
Executive Search Consultant, AGB Search

Carroll College prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, creed, religion, or sex, except when the reasonable demands of the position require an age, physical or mental disability, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, creed, religion, or sex distinction. In the case of religion and creed, such distinctions may be appropriate under state and federal constitutional provisions due to the religious character and Catholic identity of Carroll College and the nature of the particular employment position at issue.