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Dennis Barden

Senior partner Dennis Barden joined Witt/Kieffer in 1998. A former managing partner of the firm’s Education Practice, Dennis supports boards and search committees in searches for presidents and chancellors as well as institutional leaders in the recruitment of leadership at the vice presidential and decanal levels. During his time with the firm, Dennis has played a central role in almost 400 searches across higher education, in the non-profit sector, and in healthcare philanthropy.

Deeply immersed in the marketplace dynamics impacting colleges and universities, Dennis’ reputation as a “truth teller” derives from his direct style and his strategic orientation. With nearly 40 years of higher education experience – including 20 years in increasingly responsible leadership roles at his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, as well as with Northwestern and Georgetown Universities and the University of Chicago – he brings to his clients broad and deep experience regarding both institutions and candidates.

Dennis is a recognized thought leader in higher education search and contributes regularly to such publications as The Chronicle of Higher Education and CASE Currents. He is also a popular speaker and panelist on the topic of leadership in higher education and has been recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education with its Steuben Apple Award for excellence in the organization’s international educational programs. He works from offices in Chicago and Sarasota, Florida.

B.A., English Literature, magna cum laude, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY


Thought Leadership


Current Searches

American Jewish University | President | Los Angeles, CA
Boston Athenaeum | Chief Development Officer | Boston, MA
Cornell University | Associate Vice President for Alumni Affairs | Ithaca, NY
Hampden-Sydney College | Vice President for College Advancement | Hampden-Sydney, VA
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | Senior Vice President, Development, Special Events & Volunteers | Washington, DC
Pace University | Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations | New York, NY
Seton Hall University | President | South Orange, NJ
St. Norbert College | Vice President for College Advancement | De Pere, WI
University of Evansville | President | Evansville, IN

Recent Searches

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Dennis Barden
Senior Partner
2015 Spring Road
Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-575-6167
Fax: 630-990-1382
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