Dr. Eugene V. Petrik

President Petrik In 1973, Dr. Eugene V. Petrik became Bellarmine College's second president. When Dr. Petrik took the helm at Bellarmine, the college was in a period of declining enrollment and financial peril. Over the next several years, Dr. Petrik energized the college, expanded it significantly and built it into one of the region's leading private colleges.

Over the course of Dr. Petrik's administration, Bellarmine's enrollment doubled from 1300 to 2600 and its endowment grew from $134,000 to $7 million. The number of undergraduate programs at Bellarmine doubled and five new graduate programs began. The campus grew by five buildings and Bellarmine later named a residence hall in his honor: Petrik Hall.

Born and raised in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City, mild mannered and soft spoken Eugene Petrik earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1955 and a master's and doctorate in science education from Columbia. He taught at Fairleigh Dickinson, New York University, and Seton Hall before becoming vice president at Mount St. Mary's and eventually president at Bellarmine.

Ever the man of science, Dr. Petrik was known and loved for his keen intellect, his remarkable problem-solving ability, and his infectious optimism.

Dr. Petrik was also influential in the Louisville community, serving as leader of the 1982 commission on city-county merger, the Leadership Louisville Foundation and the Louisville Rotary Club. He also served on numerous boards, including the boards of the Metro United Way, The Louisville Central Area, Inc. and The Old Kentucky Home Council of Boy Scouts of America.

In 1990 Dr. Petrik retired from Bellarmine and was succeeded by Dr. Joseph J. McGowan.

In a presidency of 17 years, Dr. Petrik led Bellarmine to steady expansion, diversity and professional growth, eventually achieving its status as the largest private college in Kentucky. At the same time, the institution remained faithful to its roots as a comprehensive liberal arts college in an ecumenically Catholic tradition. Above all, President Petrik envisioned a distinctive Bellarmine education as one that fostered "greatness of heart" in its students as both experience and expectation.