SBU president still hospitalized with COVID-19; Zimmer to serve as acting president

By Dustyn Green

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure University announced on Monday that Dr. Joseph Zimmer, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, was named SBU’s acting president in place of Dr. Dennis DePerro. 

DePerro has been battling COVID-19 since being admitted to a Syracuse hospital on Dec. 29, where he was recently placed on a ventilator. In a release, the university said that DePerro is in serious but stable condition.

“It’s important that we have, during Dr. DePerro’s absence, a leader overseeing the business of the university,” said John Sheehan, chairman of the university’s board of trustees. “The (board) has complete confidence in Dr. Zimmer.” 

Zimmer told the campus community that his priority is to continue DePerro’s work until the president is healthy enough to return.

“My role now – in collaboration with our senior management team and faculty leaders – is simply to keep us moving forward in the positive direction we have been headed since [Dr. DePerro] came on board as president in 2017,” Zimmer said. 

Dr. Anne Foerst, chair of the university’s faculty senate, said that the senate will continue to work with Zimmer achieve this goal. 

“Dr. DePerro is in the thoughts and prayers of the entire university community, including the faculty, and we look forward to him making a full recovery,” Foerst said. “The faculty senate has and will continue to work constructively and productively with Dr. Zimmer, for the benefit of the university and its students.”  

Zimmer also conveyed a message to the campus community as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With COVID-19 still consuming our thoughts and plans this semester, and the president working hard to recover, I’m asking every member of the Bonaventure community to support each other during this challenging time and to continue to keep our students’ needs at the forefront of everything we do – and, of course, to keep Dr. DePerro in your prayers,” Zimmer said. 

As of Tuesday, no further updates have been given on the president’s condition. Cards and well wishes for DePerro can be sent to the president’s office.  

University appoints associate provost, interim dean, associate dean

ST. BONAVENTURE (Aug. 31) — St. Bonaventure University announced three new administrators via university’s Notice Board today.

Peggy Burke was named associate provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies; Joseph Zimmer was named interim dean of the School of Education; and Carol Fischer was named an associate dean of the School of Business. All of these appointments are effective immediately. 

Burke was the School of Education’s dean since 2003 as well as the School of Graduate Studies’ dean since 2006.

According to the Notice Board, Burke will “focus her efforts in areas such as planning; new program development, approval, and implementation; assessment of student learning outcomes and institutional effectiveness; and student success and retention.”

Zimmer, an associate professor in the School of Education, was an assistant dean from 2001 to 2003. Since 1998, he has served as director of the M.S.Ed. Literacy Programs, director of the university’s Reading Center since 1997 and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education coordinator since 2003.

Carol Fischer, a professor of accounting in the School of Business, was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and professor in 2001. She is a part of many campus groups such as the First-Year Experience Council, Institutional Review Board and All Bonaventure Reads Committee.

The Notice Board did not say what Zimmer and Carol Fischer’s goals as interim dean and associate dean, respectively, were.