Metro-East News

President leaves Lindenwood University-Belleville while on administrative leave

The president of Lindenwood University-Belleville, who was placed on administrative leave last fall, has left the college.

Brett Barger, who was named president of the Belleville campus in 2015, said in a statement Tuesday:

“I have been privileged to work at Lindenwood University since the mid 1990s in various leadership roles. The last three years, serving as campus president in Belleville, have been some of the most rewarding. The quality and passion of my senior leaders, faculty and staff have allowed us to make great strides in providing a high-quality experience to an amazing group of traditional-aged students and our evening students.

“On both a professional and personal level, getting to meet and work with so many remarkable community members in the city of Belleville is something I will always cherish. As much as I’ve enjoyed my career at Lindenwood, it is simply the right time to move on to new pursuits,” he said.

Michael Shonrock, president of the Lindenwood University System based in St. Charles, Missouri, told students and faculty last week in an announcement that Barger was no longer affiliated with the university, where he had earned three degrees and had worked since the 1990s.

Barger was leaving “to explore new opportunities,” according to Shonrock’s statement, which did not provide any other details about the reason for Barger’s departure.

A decision has not been made about whether a new president will be named for the Belleville campus or if Shonrock will assume the duties, according to Lisa O’Brien Enger, vice president of university relations for Lindenwood.

Lindenwood remains “committed to Belleville and Southern Illinois,” she said.

Renee Porter, campus provost in Belleville, has handled administrative duties at the Belleville campus since Barger was placed on leave last year.

Barger was appointed interim president of the Belleville campus before the start of the 2015-16 school and in October 2015, the college dropped the “interim” tag.

Shonrock told the BND in 2015 that he investigated Barger’s ability to be a leader and build relationships before making the permanent decision.

“Every person we’ve talked to had wonderful things to say about the job he’s done,” Shonrock said at the time. “We expect great things to happen here.”

The Belleville campus was established in 2003 in the former Belleville West High School at 2600 W. Main St. while the St. Charles campus was founded in 1827.

Prior to being named president of the Belleville campus, Barger served the Lindenwood system as associate vice president for operations and finance and as the dean of evening and graduate admissions and extension campuses, according to the university.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and is from St. Louis.