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Presidential Search

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Mount St. Mary’s University's 27th President

A message from Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, Chair, Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees

Dear Mount Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee, I am proud to announce Gerard “Jerry” J. Joyce, Ph.D., as the 27th president of Mount St. Mary’s University. Following an extensive national search, my colleagues on the Board and I unanimously selected Dr. Joyce, who rose to the top among an impressive pool of candidates. He will assume his duties as president on July 1, 2024.

I am confident that the search, led by the Presidential Search Committee and chaired by Trustees Richard Miller, C’74, and Robert Dondero, C’74, resulted in the selection of the best leader for the Mount and our future. The Committee consisted of trustees, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff and student representatives.

With his dedication to academic distinction, drive for mission-oriented expansion, and commitment to the values inherent in Catholic education, Dr. Joyce will position the Mount for excellence in the years ahead.

Dr. Joyce and his family are excited to meet the Mount community. He and his wife Erin, and their five children, who range in age from 22 to 7, will visit campus on January 26 to meet with key groups including faculty and students and on the 27 to meet alumni and participate in the festivities of Winter Homecoming.

As the first non-clergy president in DeSales University’s history, Dr. Joyce was instrumental in strategic planning and developing new programs. During his tenure as interim president, DeSales experienced tremendous enrollment growth and enhanced its academic portfolio with revenue-generating academic programs.

In his current position as executive vice president, Dr. Joyce led DeSales in raising and redistributing funds to offer more than $40 million in scholarships and grants for students and in developing its first branding platform. He also managed the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the Mount, DeSales successfully brought students back to campus in the fall of 2020. Dr. Joyce’s strategic approach to enrollment allowed DeSales to achieve the largest first-year classes for two consecutive years in an increasingly challenging higher education landscape.

Dr. Joyce's previous roles have included serving as vice president for student life and dean of enrollment management. He has implemented innovative student recruitment strategies, developed character-building programs and established international education initiatives. As an adjunct instructor, he taught courses on education philosophy, ethics, leadership and decision-making. He also served as chair of the Allentown Diocese Board of Education for eight years.

Dr. Joyce holds a doctorate in education administration and policy studies from The Catholic University of America. He earned his masters degree in education from Kutztown University and his bachelor’s degree in finance from DeSales University. To learn more about Dr. Joyce, I invite you to read his short biography below and the press release.

In getting to know Dr. Joyce through the search process, many of us noted his collaborative nature and humility. He lives the words of Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory. Rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others.” These traits are essential for a leader who is looking to make an impact.

I thank the Presidential Search Committee for their dedication and diligence in completing this important work. I would also like to share our appreciation for the members of the Mount community, including alumni, who offered their perspectives on desired attributes for the Mount’s next leader early in the search process.

gracelyn mcdermott

Spes Nostra,

Gracelyn McDermott, C’93
Chair, Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees

A Message From Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D.

Gerard Joyce, Ph.D.

Biography of Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D.

Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D., stands out as a strategic thinker and transformative figure in higher education, with a career defined by a dedication to academic distinction and a drive for mission-oriented expansion. His three-decade journey in the academy underscores an unwavering commitment to the values inherent in Catholic education and principled organizational stewardship.

At DeSales, as the first non-clergy president in university history, Joyce directed operating expenses and was instrumental in strategic planning and developing new programs. During his tenure as interim president, DeSales experienced tremendous enrollment growth and enhanced its academic portfolio with revenue-generating academic programs.

Under his guidance as executive vice president, DeSales University witnessed the largest first-year class for two consecutive years (2021 and 2022). Other notable achievements include developing DeSales' first branding platform, securing over $40 million in scholarships and grants for students, and managing the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His forward-thinking approach has not only shaped the university's landscape but has also fortified the university’s mission and broadened its awareness.

Joyce's previous roles have encompassed a wide array of responsibilities, from vice president for student life to dean of enrollment management. He has left a lasting impact in each position through innovative student recruitment strategies, character-building programs and the establishment of international education initiatives.

His commitment to education extends into the classroom. As an adjunct instructor, he imparted his education philosophy, ethics, leadership, and decision-making knowledge, further enriching the academic environment. His involvement on various boards and organizations further underscores his dedication to advancing Catholic education and student success.

Joyce holds a Ph.D. in education administration and policy studies from The Catholic University of America. He earned his Master of Education degree from Kutztown University and his Bachelor of Science degree from DeSales University.

Joyce and his wife Erin, a nurse practitioner, are the parents of five children, who range in age from 22 to 7.

msmu presidential seal

About the Presidential Search

Mount St. Mary's Board of Trustees is overseeing a search and transition process in collaboration with students, alumni, staff and faculty members for the 27th president of Mount St. Mary's University, following the March 2023 announcement that President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., will retire in the summer of 2024.

This webpage will be updated regularly with the latest information regarding the search.

Presidential Search Prospectus

The formal prospectus advertises the search for the Mount's 27th president. Learn about America's oldest independent Catholic university and the opportunities, challenges, qualifications and personal characteristics we seek in our next president. Nominations, inquiries and expressions of interest should be sent to our search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, at msmu@russellreynolds.com.

Presidential Search Committee 2023

  • Co-Chair - Mr. Robert Dondero, C’74, Trustee, Chair of the Board Governance Committee, Seminary Board
  • Co-Chair - Mr. Richard Miller, C’74, Trustee, Board Vice Chair
  • Board Chair - Ms. Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, Trustee, Board Chair
  • Board Representative 1 - Mr. Joseph Dowd, C’92, Trustee
  • Board Representative 2 - Mr. Koki Adasi, C’04, Trustee
  • Board Representative 3 - Mr. Robert Deegan, C’82, Trustee
  • Board Representative 4 - Dr. DeVeda Coley, C’93, Trustee
  • Board Representative 5 - Dr. Patrick Goles, C’64, Trustee, Seminary Board
  • Board Representative 6 - Mrs. Suzanne Hueston, Esq., C’91, Trustee, Chair of President’s Council
  • Former Trustee Representative - Mr. David Conaghan, C’81, former Trustee
  • Trustee Emeritus Representative - Mr. Robert J. Smith, C’64, Trustee Emeritus, Seminary Board
  • Seminary Representative - Msgr. Andrew Baker, Seminary Rector and Vice President
  • Faculty Representative 1 - Michelle Ohanian, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, Chair of the Faculty Governance Committee
  • Faculty Representative 2 - Layton Field, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Administrator Representative - Love Sechrest, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Program Development and Innovation, Professor of Theology
  • Staff Representative - Marie Lalor, Dean’s Assistant, School of Natural Science and Mathematics
  • Student Representative - Andrew Truhan, C’24, President of the Student Government Association
  • Russell Reynolds Consultant (non-voting) - Anne Coyle, Lead Consultant
  • Russell Reynolds Consultant (non-voting) - Dr. Zach Messitte, Lead Consultant
  • Russell Reynolds Consultant (non-voting) - Mathilde Andrews, Researcher
  • Committee Coordinator (non-voting) - Jeffrey Simmons, Ph.D., Executive Director of ASPIRE Office
  • Committee Coordinator (non-voting) - Elizabeth Monahan, Chief of Staff

Presidential Search Timeline

Last updated June 22, 2023

May

Search Committee Kickoff Meeting

June

Search Committee finalizes prospectus

Position announcement goes live

July - August

Receive and review applications

September

First and second round interviews

October

Committee makes recommendation to the Board of Trustees

Board selects the president

December

New president is announced

Communications

The Presidential Search Committee, led by Board Vice Chair Rich Miller, C'74, and Trustee Robert Dondero, C'74, will provide periodic email updates to the Mount community throughout the search for the university's 27th president. All updates will be archived on this webpage.

November 6 - Presidential Search Update

Dear Mount Community,

This is an addendum to our last communication (10/30/2023) regarding the Presidential Search here at Mount St. Mary’s University. The Search Committee has recommended that finalists be brought forward to meet some of the Mount family.

Over the next few weeks, the finalists will be visiting the Mount for further discussions with key stakeholders of the University which include members of the faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees. Upon completion of this process, the thoughts of this group will be shared with the Search Committee and then a final recommendation will be made by the Search Committee to the Board of Trustees. This final recommendation will occur prior to year end 2023.

The search committee has done an exemplary job of securing the confidentiality of the candidates while working diligently during this entire arduous process of selection. They have been extremely active in the interview and questioning process and have served their constituents very well. We thank them for their service!

My Mount friends, in a very short time the committee will be asked to make a decision that will affect us for years to come. We are replacing a wonderful President and individual in Dr. Tim Trainor. This fact is not lost on the committee. We ask for your prayers for God to be with the committee in the closing days of our work. May God bless all of you!

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero
Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

October 30 - Presidential Search Update

Dear Mount Community,

As we near the end of October, we’d like to update you on the Presidential Search process.

The Presidential Search Committee has been interviewing candidates and narrowing down the list. We have been pleased with the diversity of the candidate pool and impressed by the qualifications and depth of knowledge of the candidates we have spoken with. The committee will soon make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will make its decision on the next president with the aim to publicly announce the 27th president by the end of the calendar year.

Please bear in mind that committee members have pledged to maintain strict confidentiality throughout this process. One of the main reasons for this is to protect the privacy of candidates – we want all candidates to feel comfortable during the interview process!

We will continue to communicate with the Mount community as the process unfolds. Please keep the committee in your prayers as it undertakes this important task that is critical to the Mount’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero
Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

August 23-24 - Presidential Search Committee August Update

Dear Mount Community,

We hope the Fall 2023 semester will be a time of growth and enrichment for students, faculty, administrators, and staff alike. We’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the Presidential Search process.

As the Presidential Search Committee has worked with our search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, to develop the candidate pool, we have been pleased with the interest shown in the opportunity to lead the Mount. The Committee is reviewing a deep, robust, and diverse pool of highly qualified candidates with an eye to beginning to interview candidates this fall.

Please bear in mind that committee members have pledged to maintain strict confidentiality throughout this process. One of the main reasons for this is to protect the privacy of candidates – we want all candidates to feel comfortable during the interview process!

First- and second-round interviews will take place in September. After that, the committee will conduct finalist interviews and make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will make its decision on the next president and publicly announce the 27th president by the end of the year.

We will continue to communicate with the Mount community as the process unfolds. Please keep the committee in your prayers as it undertakes this important task that is critical to the Mount’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero
Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

July 24-26 - Presidential Search Committee July Update

Dear Mount Community,

We are writing with an update from the Presidential Search Committee. The Presidential Search web page is live and the position is being advertised. Somewhere out there our next president is reading about the Mount’s ambitions and traits and deciding to apply. Our search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, is actively soliciting applicants and vetting all names that they receive from the Mount community. If you would like to suggest a possible candidate, send an email to msmu@russellreynolds.com. When suggesting a nominee, it is helpful, but not essential, if you can provide some background information on the suggested candidate.

The Presidential Search Committee met earlier this week to receive an update on the applicant pool and to discuss the selection criteria that will be used to identify the best candidates based on the prospectus for the position. Please bear in mind that committee members have pledged to maintain strict confidentiality throughout this process. One of the main reasons for this is to protect the privacy of candidates – we want all applicants to feel comfortable applying!

In mid-August the committee will select first-round candidates from the pool of applicants. First-round interviews will take place in early September, followed by second-round interviews in late September. After the second round, the committee will conduct finalist interviews and make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will make its decision on the next president and publicly announce the 27th president by the end of the year.

We will continue to communicate with the Mount community as the process unfolds. Please keep the committee in your prayers as it undertakes this important task that is critical to the Mount’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero
Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

June 26 - Presidential Search Committee June Update

Dear Mount Community,

The Presidential Search Committee, with input from students, faculty, administrators, staff, board trustees and alumni, has finalized the position description for the next president of Mount St. Mary’s University, which is available above.

On behalf of the Committee, we thank everyone who contributed their thoughts, ideas and dreams for the Mount. The participation was incredible! Of the nearly 700 responses to the email survey, over 400 were from alumni, 145 from students, 62 from faculty, and 60 from administrators and staff. In addition, over 220 individuals participated in the Needs Assessment Zoom meetings back in April. Every comment was reviewed and taken into consideration as the position description was crafted with the help of our search consultant, Russell Reynolds Associates.

The consultant will now start actively soliciting potential candidates through July and early August. In mid-August the Committee will select first-round candidates from the pool of applicants. First-round interviews will take place in early September, followed by second-round interviews in late September. After the second round, the committee will make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Finally, the Board will make its decision on the next president and publicly announce the 27th president by the end of the year.

We will continue to keep the community informed as the process unfolds. Please keep the Committee in your prayers as it undertakes this important task that is critical to the University’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero
Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee

May 24 - Presidential Search Committee Update

Dear Mount Community,

In keeping with our commitment to transparency during the presidential search process, we are writing with an update. The Presidential Search Committee held its kickoff meeting on May 8, 2023, with everyone in attendance. In a slight change to our initial plan, we decided to move ahead and add the administrator, staff and student representatives to the Committee at the start of the process rather than later. So, the Presidential Search Committee roster that you see at the end of this email is the entire committee that will work from start to finish.

Broadly speaking, the charge of the Presidential Search committee is to 1) develop a prospectus that clearly identifies the priorities of the Mount and the criteria we seek in the next president, 2) carefully evaluate the candidates, and 3) recommend the two or three best-qualified candidates to the University Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will then make the final determination in appointing the next president of Mount St. Mary’s University. The Committee is assisted by a team of higher education search consultants from Russell Reynolds Associates.

We are currently wrapping up the needs assessment phase. Russell Reynolds (RR) consultants held Zoom meetings with several major stakeholders in April and May and surveyed the whole Mount community to identify the key characteristics that we should look for in the next president. They will develop a draft position description and send it to the Search Committee for review in the next few weeks. Once finalized, the prospectus will be posted on the University website and RR will use it as they reach out to potential candidates.

RR will receive applications through June and July. The Committee will select first round candidates in August and conduct interviews in early September. Second-round interviews will take place in late September, after which the committee will makes its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Finally, the Board will make its decision on the next president and publicly announce the 27th president by December.

We will continue to keep the community informed as the process unfolds. Please keep the Committee in your prayers as it undertakes this important task that is critical to the University’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert Dondero and Richard Miller
Co-Chairs of the Search Committee