COLLEGEVILLE/ST. JOSEPH (WJON News) -- The new president of the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University is busy settling into the new role this fall.

Brian Bruess started the job on July 1st and becomes the first person to lead both schools at the same time.

He says this is the only venture of its kind in American higher education where you have two separate corporations unified with a single president and common boards. Of course, the faculty has been combined for over 40 years already.

It's the staff that's looking at this a little bit differently wondering what it means, but they've been working together as one body for 40 years.  It's a remarkable opportunity and there's incredible enthusiasm.

Bruess says the change will allow them to be more adaptive and nimble. The schools have spent the past two to three years getting to this point.

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St. Ben's and St. John's have over 3,100 students combined that are enrolled this year. The two schools are facing the same downward trend in enrollment that most other higher education institutions have. Their first-year retention rate remains in the upper 80s on both campuses.

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