Tim Keane Named Chancellor of Webster University

Timothy Keane

After a comprehensive search process, Webster University’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Tim Keane, PhD, the current dean of the Knauss School of Business at the University of San Diego, to serve as the next chancellor of Webster University. Keane, 65, is a St. Louis native with decades of experience in both the private sector and higher education. He brings a strong record of growing resources for academic institutions through fundraising and enrollment growth and has an accomplished track record of entrepreneurial achievements. Throughout his career, Keane’s commitment to innovation has resulted in numerous successful initiatives. Keane will start in his new role on August 1.

“I am looking forward to returning to St. Louis and working with the outstanding faculty and staff at Webster as we continue to strengthen Webster’s financial well-being, growing our domestic and international enrollment, and finding new ways to meet the needs of the students,” Keane said. “I am so impressed by what is in place at Webster now and the highest priority for me is to learn more from all of those in the global Webster community. I’m excited to hear their ideas on how we build on the wonderful foundation at Webster and accelerate the current trajectory of enrollment growth the Webster team has recently achieved.”

In January, Webster’s Board of Trustees engaged internationally recognized leadership search and development firm Russell Reynolds to find the right person to serve as the new chancellor. The search effort included the formation of a committee including individuals from across the University community. That committee was overseen by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Gay Burns. For five months, the committee sought feedback from the Webster community, reviewed dozens of applications, and organized multiple Zoom and in-person interviews with potential candidates. 

“We had many qualified applicants, but Tim really stood out with his extensive success in private enterprise and academia,” Burns said. “He comes to Webster with a long history of leadership, a strong focus on key financial and performance indicators and an ability to elevate organizations to new levels of success.”

Keane has served as dean of the Knauss School of Business at the University of San Diego since 2020. He collaborated with his team and University leadership to attract more than $40 million in donations, including a naming rights gift for the business school.  He also worked closely with the facilities team to design and build an $80 million, 120,000 square-foot state-of-the-art building for the Business School. During his tenure, the Knauss Business School was named one of the top business schools in the nation. Keane was named one of the most influential businesspeople in the San Diego region multiple times by the San Diego Business Journal. 

Keane’s academic career started in 2003 when he was named the Ewing Marion Kauffman Entrepreneurial Scholar in the Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. He launched a Center for Leadership and Ethics and developed an assurance of learning assessment model to support the Helzberg School’s initial AACSB (Association to Advance College Schools of Business) accreditation.

In 2006, Keane was hired by Saint Louis University (SLU) as director of the Emerson Ethics Center. Over the next nine years, he was the founding director of the Center for Sustainability and worked with a team of faculty from across SLU to create a new, interdisciplinary Master of Sustainability program. Keane worked closely with the Advancement team at SLU to secure more than $10 million in support of sustainability initiatives. He also led the cultivation of a $3 million gift from the Emerson Foundation to launch a new leadership institute. 

Another significant initiative that Keane launched at SLU was a project-based learning program that partnered MBA students with the Building Trades Union and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment to create the “Building Union Diversity” (BUD) program. That program was designed to increase participation in the building trades by women and minorities. This year BUD is celebrating 10 years of success in the various building trades.

In 2015, Keane was selected through a national search to serve as the founding dean of the business school at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He launched the Anderson College of Business and collaborated with the Regis team in cultivating a $10 million naming rights for the new college, which was the largest gift in Regis history. Keane also partnered in the cultivation of an additional $1 million gift to create an entrepreneurship incubator and innovation center.

Before entering academia, Keane had 20 years of experience in private enterprise, including 17 years at Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (now AB InBev). He served as the founding director of Anheuser-Busch’s Information Based Selling group, which used data analytics to optimize brand distribution at the individual retail account level in various high-volume markets. 

In 1999, Keane co-founded and served as president and CEO of Entrada Technologies, a data collection software company focused on consumer-packaged goods industries. Entrada entered the market with the patented “virtual cooler” software application that ran on the early pen tablet devices. The company earned Microsoft Joint Development Partner status and created its own nationwide network of independent software vendors. In 2003, after Entrada began working with Frito Lay in developing a plan for a nationwide rollout of its software, the company was sold to a Canadian firm.

Keane’s career initially started on a different trajectory. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he was drafted by the Tulsa Roughnecks, a professional soccer team, in the second round of the North American Soccer League draft. 

“Among the many exciting aspects of my role as Chancellor will be the opportunity to be the chief cheerleader in charge of bragging about all the wonderful people and programs at Webster, including Gorlok athletes, our nationally ranked chess team and our incredibly strong academic community.” Keane said. “In preparing for this role, I have had the opportunity to review all that the Webster community has accomplished and I am impressed with the quality of work and the dedication of everyone involved. I look forward to working with President Schuster and the entire staff at Webster to continue this trajectory. There is already a lot to be proud of at Webster, and together we will continue to build on those achievements.”

Keane is a graduate of De Smet Jesuit High School. He earned his PhD in Public Policy Analysis and Administration from SLU. He also has an MBA from the University of Richmond in Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Rollins College in Florida. He and his wife Judie have been married for 41 years.

“This is an exciting start to a new chapter in Webster’s storied history, and I believe the community will be as impressed with Tim as the Board was when we offered him the job,” said Webster Board of Trustees Chair Sumit Verma. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the faculty and staff of Webster University for all their efforts to help us reach more than 30% growth in enrollment globally over the past year. Tim’s core leadership competencies nicely align with the next stage of Webster’s global financial turnaround.”

Verma will serve as interim chancellor at Webster from now until Aug. 1. He is waiving any compensation for those duties. 

Related News