Fall 2015 marked a season of new beginnings for Lindenwood Belleville as a Lindenwood alumnus, Dr. Brett Barger (’93, ’98, and ’14), became the second president in campus history.
On Aug. 1, President Jerry Bladdick stepped down from his role after six years in the position to accept a job elsewhere in higher education. Barger was named interim president by Lindenwood University System President Michael Shonrock, who, along with Board Chairman Jim Shoemake, named Barger Belleville’s permanent president on Oct. 7.
In announcing the appointment, Shonrock said Barger had done “an exceptional job throughout the later summer and kicking off the fall semester, building relationships with faculty, staff, and students and enhancing partnerships with the Belleville community.”
Barger’s relationship with Lindenwood University began in 1990 when he enrolled as an undergraduate student at the St. Charles, Mo., campus. He graduated in 1993 and went on to receive an MBA and his EdD from Lindenwood.
“Growing up in St. Louis County, I chose Lindenwood because of the strong community that I encountered on my first visit there,” Barger said. “The special connection between the faculty, staff, and students felt like family, and that pervasive culture exists to this day.”
Barger joined Lindenwood’s staff in 1994 as director of operations. Later, as dean of evening and graduate admissions and extension campuses, he oversaw admissions for the Belleville location in the early years after its 2003 opening, when it was solely an evening center. Prior to becoming LU-Belleville’s interim president, he was associate vice president for operations and finance, based at Lindenwood’s St. Charles campus.
“My connection and affinity for Lindenwood Belleville and the people here has been present since the campus’ early days,” Barger said.
“I believe that all my past experience at Lindenwood has helped to prepare me for this role, and I’m honored to be part of this campus community,” Barger said.
As Barger looks to the future, he is excited to begin an in-depth master plan that will include many opportunities for growth in student enrollment, academic programs, and facilities.
“I hope to expand people’s vision for the campus during my leadership,” he said. “At Lindenwood, it’s always been about what’s next. We are already looking ahead to the year 2027, which will mark the 200th anniversary for the Lindenwood system and 25 years since the conversation and planning started for the Belleville campus. I hope to encourage a culture of excitement and anticipation as we seek feedback to answer the question, ‘What do we want to look like in 2027?’”
Barger’s message for the businesses, residents, and community leaders in the region is a simple one: take advantage of the opportunity to connect with Lindenwood students and faculty.
“Any time we can create partnerships to meet needs in the community or work together with businesses and community leaders, we benefit from each other,” he said. “The real value of having a university in the community is the interaction among people and the ideas we generate when we work together.”