John Shannon, long-serving Trine University chief academic officer, named university’s 17th president

January 31, 2023

John ShannonJohn Shannon, Ph.D., has been named the 17th president of Trine University, effective June 1, 2023.

Rick L. James, chair of the university’s board of trustees, made the announcement today following a board search to replace Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., who is retiring after an illustrious 23-year tenure as Trine president.  In a related move, James also announced that Dr. Brooks will remain involved with the university after retiring the presidency, and will serve in the newly created role of university chancellor.

“The board is thrilled that we had an internal candidate with Dr. Shannon’s skills and expertise available to take on the monumental task of following Dr. Brooks,” said James.  “Dr. Brooks created a culture of excellence at Trine as he transformed this university, and it was absolutely essential to the board that his successor be someone who understands and appreciates this culture.  Dr. Shannon has been a key contributor to our recent success, but most important, he truly understands what makes Trine University so unique.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be named president of this great university,” said Dr. Shannon.  “Following the tremendous success of Dr. Brooks is certainly a challenge, but I assume this role knowing this university has never been stronger, both academically and financially.  We have a very bright future and I, like Dr. Brooks before me, will continue to draw upon the great expertise and counsel of board chair James and all members of the Trine board to make sure we do everything we can to provide the best possible academic experience and to continue to positively serve the communities in which we operate.”

Dr. Shannon currently serves as Trine provost and senior vice president. The position was created last year to provide additional leadership resources to accommodate growing enrollment and expanded academic offerings, and to enable the university to fully explore and embrace exciting opportunities. At the time of his appointment, Dr. Brooks commented, “John has been largely responsible for developing and launching the exciting new academic programs that have fueled our recent enrollment growth.  This includes laying the groundwork for a robust expansion of programs at our College of Health Professions, based in Fort Wayne.  He has also played a very significant role in the recent success we have had attracting international graduate students, which has also been vital to our recent growth.”

Before being named provost, Dr. Shannon served two stints as vice president for academic affairs at Trine, first from 2012 to 2015, and returning in 2018 after leading academics at the Indiana Institute of Technology in the interim.   Prior to serving as Trine’s vice president for academic affairs, he was dean and professor in the university’s Jannen School of Arts and Sciences for five years.  He came to Trine in 2007 with extensive experience in foreign language and international education, having previously served as dean and professor at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in California and chair and director of the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. His career also includes serving with the U.S. Army in the former West Germany and as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching special education in Tunisia. He holds a Ph.D. in foreign and second language from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts in applied linguistics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. 

Dr. Brooks will be the university’s chancellor

In his new role as chancellor, Dr. Brooks will continue to serve the university in a variety of ways, including fundraising, providing oversight of the development of Trine Fort Wayne, which will house the College of Health Sciences, and providing additional support and counsel to the Trine board and incoming President Shannon.  “We are indeed fortunate that Dr. Brooks will continue his association with this university, and that we will all be able to draw on the experience he developed in rebuilding this university over the past 23 years,” said board chair James.

“I am very excited about being able to contribute to the university, even in retirement,” said Dr. Brooks.  “Collectively, we have accomplished so much over the past two decades, and I am honored to continue to be part of this tremendous institution.”

Dr. Shannon is committed to the Angola community and looks forward to working with Trine faculty and staff

Dr. Shannon and his family are active members of the Trine community.  His wife Grace is a registered nurse who also manages the couples’ rental properties.  The family includes three children, adult daughter Nora and 16-year-old twins Aidan and Anya; along with three grandchildren, Leila, Dounia, and Maysa. According to Dr. Shannon, “Away from work, our lives revolve around family. We really enjoy traveling, camping, and just spending time at home together.”

As he prepares for the transition in May, Dr. Shannon is especially eager to work with Trine University faculty and staff to ensure that the university continues on its current trajectory of success.  “At heart, I’m a college professor,” he said.  “I get tremendous satisfaction from making sure that our faculty are fully equipped to meet the changing needs of our students and the organizations and companies that employ them.  Higher education is changing rapidly, but we are well-positioned to be a leader in this change.  These are exciting times.”   

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