Dr. Margaret Lehner
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Letter to St. Augustine College

Changes to St. Augustine College family
Dr. Andrew Sund leaves the presidency after nine years of successful management and leaves the position to his teacher and mentor:
Dr. Bruno Bondavalli, who assumes the presidency on an interim basis.

By Eduardo Alegria

Both are part of the history of this College that was founded in 1980 to fill the void of educational institutions in Chicago that did not offer a place to educate Hispanics in their own language. Today, 37 years after providing more than ten thousand new bilingual professionals to society, St. Augustine College has become the cornerstone of the development of Chicago and Illinois, and Dr. Bondavalli, founder of SAC and Dr. Sund were instrumental in this achievement.

Dr. Bruno Bondavalli is the current Dean of Academic and Student Affairs and has been an administrator at St. Augustine College since 1980. He was responsible for designing the first college curriculum and developing enrollment management procedures. During his tenure as dean, the college obtained its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and received the authority to award its first bachelor’s degree. In 1999, Dr. Bondavalli was appointed Acting President by the Board of Trustees and developed a reorganization plan that reduced operational costs and increased student enrollment. Today the Board of Trustees again entrusts the administration of SAC as interim president.

Dr. Andrew C. Sund began as President of SAC in 2008. During that period, the College has developed new bachelor’s degrees, workforce development programs, opened additional offices, increased and improved physical infrastructure, developed strategic partnerships with numerous public and private entities, and increased enrollment by 35%. But his history with SAC began in 1991 where he worked until 2004 in a variety of positions: history instructor, academic counselor, institutional research director, associate dean of curriculum and assessment, acting vice president for academic affairs, and associate dean of student affairs. Between 2004 and 2008, he was Dean of Workforce and Community Education at Olive Harvey College. Today he leaves SAC to take on a new challenge: the presidency of Heritage University, in Washington state.


“I am satisfied with the work done”

“When I came to SAC in 1991 I was 25 and I was studying for a master’s degree at Northwestern University, and for a while I had been teaching at the Instituto de Progreso Latino, where I became friends with Victor Delgado who worked at SAC, he helped me become a part-time teacher and then I stayed full time as an academic counselor, “recalls Dr. Sund. “What I found here was something that captivated me for its social mission, so much so that at that time I gave up my plans to pursue a doctorate to devote myself full time to SAC.”

He mentioned that there were several reasons why he devoted almost his entire professional life to SAC. “The main one is that their mission coincided very much with my personal aspirations, because I was educated in a Chilean family very attached to the defense of the rights of minorities; On the other hand, in my graduate studies I was feeling some frustration because I noticed that the educational institutions of Chicago were elitist and did not attach importance to the academic development of Hispanics, and in SAC they were a priority. That got me hooked because it was a way to do social justice through education and it coincided with my principles. That was what attracted me and made me stay, “he said.” It was a personal challenge for me to help our people improve their lives, give quality, opportunity and hope for a better life.” Dr. Sund said that SAC is an institution that has been evolving over the years. “When I arrived in 1991 there were no computers, and the curriculum was simple. This has been improved and modernized to bring it up to the level of more competitive ones. From the beginning, I worked closely with students, but I was also a history teacher and I had the opportunity to write a textbook on the history of the United States in collaboration with Dr. Gallego Blanco, “he said.”I participated in the accreditation projects for academic programs, I did evaluations with professors and for many years I contributed in research and writing reports to evaluate how the institution worked, and that helped the administration of the College.” He recalled that at the end of the 90’s the institution went through a difficult stage. “I had the privilege of working as the right hand of Dr. Bruno Bodavalli who stayed as interim president, where I learned a lot about the administration of SAC to revitalize it and get it ahead. We did it and it was a great experience that helped me later when I took over the presidency of SAC, “he mentioned.

“I think that in the 9 years of my management I did things that helped grow the institution, some plans have to be developed, but I’m quite satisfied with the work done. One of the achievements is that we greatly improved the process to be competitive in the academic rigor that puts us at the same level of other educational institutions; we have also opened new venues in places of great Hispanic population, we have opened new programs such as the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Psychology and Hospitality Management. And we are already on track to achieve others in Early Childhood Education, Computer and Business Administration. These projects are already well underway, “he said. He also emphasized the improvement of the institutional image. “We have had a great impact in these years in this aspect, which for some was doubtful because they did not trust our true mission and thought it was not competitive. As thousands of graduates have verified, with good jobs, what SAC is, and that we have been able to transmit to the public. I think that’s one of the biggest achievements we’ve had,” he said. “I think Chicago would be different if SAC had not been founded in 1980 and the families would not have had the accomplishments they have conquered.”

Dr. Sund speaks with excitement about his departure and above all about the future of SAC. “I am very optimistic in this sense because it has an administration and a very solid institutional academic structure. It has all the foundations to grow academically and institutionally. The uncertain aspect that exists is related to the policy of the state government of Illinois that is negatively impacting higher education, but I have no doubt that SAC, perhaps, is better prepared than other colleges to deal with these external problems, “he said. “I’m leaving because SAC is already recognized as ‘La Casa’ by Hispanics for higher education. And especially because in this transition process to name my successor, SAC remains in the hands of Dr. Bondavalli, a man who knows all his needs and who taught me almost everything I know. He was my supervisor for 15 years and he has been my mentor. We both fully understand SAC’s priorities. That is why I remain very calm that he will continue with what we have advanced; He is also highly respected in the institution and in the community. “


“Andrew is our pride and an example of SAC” 

It is the third time that he assumes the role as interim president. The first time was in 1999 and the second in 2007. “The first time was hard, with two and a half years of interim facing problems of imbalance between registration and budget. We had to do a reorganization. The second was an emergency that put the College at risk of closing. It was a very interesting year because we had three huge projects, we had gotten the accreditation of one of our programs, and we managed to refinance the College debt. It was a very intense year, “he recalled. 

In this opportunity, as he assumes like as interim president, things are different and there is much advanced. “We have the task of obtaining accreditation to obtain the degrees in Early Childhood Education, Computing and Business Administration. But the biggest challenge we have at the moment is the financial part because the state of Illinois is not delivering funds to our Students, “he said. “We have managed to keep our registrations down in relation to other universities, but it is still not enough.” 

Pausing to speak, Dr. Bondavalli takes the time to speak about his student: Dr. Andrew Sund. “The case of Andrew reminds me of the case of the famous painter Rafael when he took Michelangelo as his pupil, and we all know the story that the pupil far surpassed the master. That is Andrew to me, a student who surpassed me for his intelligence and leadership. This was the case with him. He arrived as a student but learned and put his personal stamp, his own philosophy and left for. That’s why I climbed so much and I would not be surprised if we find him in Washington one day if he’s interested in the political career because he has great conditions for that, “he said. 

“If I have to analyze his management in these 9 years in SAC, I must say that he was a professional consistent with what he learned here and his convictions,” he said. “He intelligently used the human and material resources of SAC with knowledge, tact, and skill. Maximized what we have and made excellent management. He managed to manage our resources as a whole leader who took advantage of the potential of our workers. It worked great. ” He said that now he takes the post of the presidency on an interim basis with tranquility. “There is no divergence because, within the overall plan, Andrew and I belong to the same school of thought,” he said, but he mentioned that the difficult time at this time is the political conjuncture over financial aid to students. “That is why my recommendation to the Board of Trustees is to speed up the search for Andrew’s replacement as much as possible because that will give the College more confidence and stability. That is the key task. I remember that after being acting president it took me almost a year to recover physically from the effort. It was a very hard process. “

Dr. Bondavalli wanted to take the opportunity to give a message to SAC staff and the community: “My message to the community is that they continue to trust SAC because it is an institution that has strengthened over the years and has become the alternative Of higher education for Hispanics. And to the community of SAC, that Andrew’s departure is something natural in a professional that has grown and is being successfully overcome by taking on new challenges. It is the example of high-level personal growth. In SAC, we have to continue the growth projects already started, “he said. He ended by saying that “Andrew is a pride for us and I know he’s going to be a good president of the university he goes to, he’s going to help the people he’s going to serve, that’s for sure. He is also our ambassador because wherever he goes he will represent St. Augustine College and that is a pride. “