Cretin-Derham Hall’s Engler nears end of his 25-year journey as school president

| July 1, 2015 | 0 Comments
Dick Engler is retiring as president of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul June 30. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Dick Engler is retiring as president of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul June 30. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

A 25-year-old photo sits in the office of Dick Engler, president of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul.

It’s of him standing in front of a CDH sign when he arrived in 1990.

The sign is long gone, but Engler is still here, though not for long. His last official day is June 30, but his entry into retirement was marked on the last day of school June 4.

He will leave a large legacy for incoming president Frank Miley. One of the chief components of that legacy is four-year endowment campaign that will end on Engler’s last day. Called “Lord, the Work is Yours!” it raised $57 million primarily will be used for tuition assistance. The final amount was $25 million more than the initial goal of $32 million.

“That was a dream of mine for many years,” said Engler, 64 and a parishioner of St. John Neumann in Eagan. It’s wonderful insurance for the future. While tuition continues to rise, so will financial aid . . . for the students.”

When asked what he will miss most about leading the school, Engler did not hesitate.

“No question, the people,” he said. “The people here have been special to me. I don’t care if it’s as donor, I don’t care if it’s a parent, a student, faculty, staff. They’re really great people and I’m going to miss them. Every day, I get to interact with at least 1,500 people. That’s a special thing that I’m going to miss.”

He plans to step back and let incoming president Frank Miley put his stamp of leadership on the school. But, he did offer two tips.

“One thing is to listen to people, to really be open to listening to people,” he said. “And, number two, to involve people in decision making. Those are two keys for any kind of leadership, as far as I’m concerned — listening and involvement.”

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