KU liberal arts dean named next president of Trinity University

Danny Anderson

Danny Anderson, dean of Kansas University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is leaving KU to become president of Trinity University in San Antonio.

Anderson earned a doctorate in Spanish from KU in 1985 and has worked at KU as a teacher and an administrator for 26 years. KU announced his pending departure on Monday.

“These types of announcements are always bittersweet,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a news release. “On one hand, we are sad to lose someone as talented and passionate about KU as Danny. On the other hand, we are proud that Trinity University — one of the premier liberal arts schools in the nation — recognized Danny and the tremendous leadership he has displayed and developed at KU.”

Anderson is scheduled to begin his job as president of Trinity University in May.

KU will name an interim liberal arts dean before the start of the spring semester and launch a nationwide search for a new dean next year, according to KU.

Over his career in the liberal arts and sciences, Anderson said he’s seen technology change the field dramatically. Generating and analyzing large data sets, for example, is now put to use in sciences like chemistry or biology and even literature.

Along with technology, Anderson said, collaboration is increasingly important.

“In today’s world as we look at the complex questions that require multiple points of view to be answered, interdisciplinarity is fundamental,” Anderson said. “We need people who can be specialists and work among or between multiple fields.”

That’s expected to be a key piece of Anderson’s leadership at Trinity, he said.

Trinity recently established and approved a ten-year strategic plan designed to place the university at the forefront of defining what it calls the new liberal arts experience.

Anderson said he found the Trinity faculty to be active, engaged and committed to involving students in their scholarship. He said the school’s strategic plan emphasizes interdisciplinary and experiential learning.

Anderson, a native Texan, began his academic career at the University of Texas-Austin and joined the KU faculty in 1988 as an assistant professor of Spanish. His research specialty is Mexican literature.

He has been KU’s liberal arts dean since 2010. Previously he was a department chairman, associate dean, vice provost for academic affairs and interim provost.

Anderson was a “driving force” in developing the university’s Bold Aspirations strategic plan, KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in KU’s news release.

Anderson’s legacy at KU also includes implementation of the new KU Core and spearheading the campaign for the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center and Innovation Way.