WILKES-BARRE, PA. (March 12, 2012) –Wilkes University’s Board of Trustees announced today that Patrick F. Leahy will be the University’s sixth president. Leahy, 43, who is executive vice president at the University of Scranton, will join Wilkes effective July 1, 2012.
Leahy’s appointment follows a national search that began in July 2011. He succeeds Tim Gilmour, who will retire as Wilkes president on June 30. Leahy is regarded as a strong academic leader who helped implement the University of Scranton’s strategic plan through his collaborative leadership style.
In announcing the appointment, board chair Jack Miller ’68 said that Leahy will provide the vision and leadership to meet the University’s strategic goals begun under Gilmour’s tenure and continue the institution’s tradition of achievement.
“Wilkes is emerging from a decade of growth and is at a crossroads. In order to move the institution to new levels of achievement, we need a visionary leader,” Miller said. “I’m confident that Patrick Leahy is that leader. His experience complements the goals set forth in the University strategic plan. His track record as a successful fundraiser and his combined management experience in education and the corporate sector make him uniquely qualified to lead Wilkes to the next level.”
Wilkes Trustee Jennie Sikes, who chaired the presidential search committee, said that Leahy emerged as the choice from a group of more than 100 applicants that included many strong candidates. “The search committee was pleased to be able to consider many able candidates, but Dr. Leahy offered a combination of experience and vision that stood out among the field of applicants,” Sikes said. “Few candidates can claim achievements in fundraising and enrollment combined with skills in building relationships that are valuable to a university community. He has a compelling vision and the experience that Wilkes needs.”
“This is an incredible opportunity,” Leahy said. “I feel both humbled and energized. Wilkes is a wonderful community, and I will work hard to make the next decade the most remarkable one in the history of the institution.”
As the University of Scranton’s first executive vice president, Leahy is responsible for key components of that university’s five-year strategic plan. He supervises six key administrative functions: development, government relations, intercollegiate athletics, undergraduate and graduate admissions, information technology, and planning. His achievements include redesigning admissions efforts with a focus on secondary markets and international student recruitment. The result was a 16 percent increase in undergraduate applications overall leading to enrollment of a class of 1,059 students in fall 2011 — an 11 percent increase over the previous year and Scranton’s largest, most diverse and highly qualified class to date.
Leahy also was responsible for leading efforts to complete the University of Scranton’s $125 million capital campaign, which ended on May 31, 2011, at 29 percent above its original goal. This represents triple the amount raised in the previous capital campaign. During the course of the campaign he reorganized the fundraising efforts which led to a 400 percent increase in total annual cash giving over four years.
Leahy also served as vice president of university relations where he was responsible for private fundraising, corporate outreach and government relations.
Leahy joined the University of Scranton in July 2004 as executive assistant to the president and served as a senior advisor charged with developing relationships with elected officials, identifying and managing professional lobbying firms, securing public money for the university, and initiating economic development activities.
Since 2007, Leahy has taught as an adjunct professor in the University of Scranton’s Business Leadership Honors Program in the Kania School of Management.
Prior to beginning his career in higher education, Leahy was co-founder and president of The Business Affairs Forum, a 15,000-member distance learning community based in Ithaca, N.Y. The company used satellite, videoconference and webcast technology to bring leading business experts to consumer, educational and corporate clients at over 100 events in 50 markets throughout North America. Earlier in his career, he was an investment officer with the Washington, D.C.-based Allied Capital Corp. and marketing manager and major account representative for Deluxe Corp. in Boston.
Leahy earned a doctor of education degree in higher education strategy and management from the University of Pennsylvania, and a dual master’s degree from Cornell University in Business Administration and Labor Relations, where he was a Fried Fellow. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Georgetown University.
Leahy and his wife, Amy, make their home in Bear Creek Village, Pa., with their four children: Grace, 13; Molly, 11; Jack, 7; and Brian, 5.
About Wilkes University:
Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the university provides its students with the experience, mentoring and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as personal growth. Recently named one of the fastest growing universities in the United States by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilkes offers the doctor of nursing practice, doctor of education and doctor of pharmacy degrees and more than a dozen master’s degree programs, including the master of business administration and master of fine arts in creative writing.