North Central College

Dr. Donna Carroll

Interim President

In 2021, after 27 years of service, Donna M. Carroll retired as president of Dominican University, a comprehensive Catholic university of 3,200 students, located 10 miles west of Chicago. She was the first lay president of the institution, which was founded in 1901 by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. In 1997, she led the academic community through a successful name change from Rosary College to Dominican University. Today, Dominican is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 master’s level universities in the Midwest and a top performer on social mobility.

Prior to her appointment at Dominican, Dr. Carroll served as Secretary of the University at Fordham University (NYC), and Sr. Vice President, Dean of the College, and Dean of Students at Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. Dr. Carroll presided over a period of tremendous and sustained growth at Dominican University—in size, quality, and complexity. During her tenure, the full-time faculty doubled, new schools, program, and governance structures were established, the operating budget increased five-fold, three campaigns raised over $165 million in new assets and the physical plant expanded significantly, including three new buildings and the purchase of a second campus. In April 2019, Dominican University approved a new strategic plan, A World of Difference.

Named one of 20 Chicago “Women to Watch” by Crain’s Chicago Business, Dr. Carroll also has been identified as one of the “100 Women of Influence” by Today’s Chicago Woman, a Chicago Tribune “Remarkable Woman,” and was listed among the top ten women in education by the Chicago Sun-Times. She is the recipient of the CEO Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and in May 2018, she received the inaugural “Cornerstones” Award from the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation. This past February (2022), Dr. Carroll was honored with the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC Award for her outstanding contributions to Catholic higher education. An outspoken advocate for immigration reform and the rights of undocumented students, Dr. Carroll has received both the “Strangers No Longer” Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the “Moral Courage” Award from Faith in Public Life. In 2018, she was named River Forest “Villager of the Year” for the influence of her advocacy on the approval of a Welcoming Village ordinance.

Over 27 years, Dr. Carroll has served on numerous academic, civic and community boards, local and national. She currently is on the boards of The HistoryMakers, OneGoal and Interfaith America, where she also serves as a Senior Fellow. She is a member of The Chicago Network and the Economic Club of Chicago.

Dr. Carroll received her bachelor’s degree in English from Wellesley College and master and doctoral degrees in higher education administration and counseling psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She is a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Educational Management. Dr. Carroll writes and lectures on topics related to higher education, leadership and vocation.