Brett Barger is excited to be part of Lindenwood University-Belleville’s future.
“I am excited to be a part of this campus and this community,” Barger said. “We’re focused on building a great future and what we’ll look like in 2023 when Lindenwood-Belleville turns 20.”
Barger was introduced Wednesday as Belleville’s interim campus president, effective Aug. 1.
Barger arrived at Lindenwood University in 1990 as a student and never left. He has worked for Lindenwood’s main campus in St. Charles, Mo., since 1994 and holds three degrees from Lindenwood — a doctorate in education, a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree.
New Lindenwood University system president Michael Shonrock, who has only been on the job since June 1, made the announcement about Barger in the Lindenwood-Belleville auditorium in front of an audience of school employees.
While Barger’s title carries the interim designation, Shonrock described the next few months as an audition for the permanent job.
“We’re going to take some time to see if it’s a good fit for him and if it’s a good fit for us,” Shonrock said. “But I have every bit of confidence it will be.”
Barger previously was dean of evening and graduate admissions and extension campuses for Lindenwood.
Shonrock said a top priority in a permanent president would be finding a person who is willing to live in the metro-east.
“I think it’s important that the new president be a part of the fabric of the community just as we want this school to be part of the fabric of the community,” Shonrock said.
A resident of Ballwin, Mo., Barger said he would relocate for the permanent position.
Barger will replace Jerry Bladdick, who announced in June he’s leaving to take another job in Florida.
Bladdick, who was not at the announcement naming his successor, accepted a position as assistant vice president and director of continuing studies and special programs at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. He starts there in September.
Bladdick was initially hired as vice president and chief administrative officer of the Belleville Lindenwood campus in July 2009, and was promoted to campus president in May 2013.
He is credited with increasing the number of degree programs Lindenwood-Belleville offers from 12 to 38 during his tenure, and the number of students enrolled from 450 in 2010 to more than 2,000 today.