Wilkes University

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy Biography

Patrick F. Leahy was appointed the sixth president of Wilkes University in 2012.

In 2014, President Leahy launched “Gateway to the Future”, the University’s strategic plan for establishing Wilkes as one of the finest small universities in the country. The Plan, built on six themes, focuses the University’s efforts and resources on teaching and learning and the success of Wilkes’ students.Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President - Wilkes University

With a commitment to creating a culture of excellence at Wilkes, President Leahy is leading improvements to academic program development and infrastructure. Since his arrival, the University completed and dedicated the $35 million Lawrence and Sally Cohen Science, a state-of-the-art building housing biology, health sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, environmental engineering and earth and environmental sciences. Fulfilling a key initiative of the new strategic plan – the consolidation of academic departments to take advantage of proximity and interdisciplinary collaboration -- President Leahy guided the creation of a new home for the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership in the University Center on Main, and the design of new academic space for the Passan School of Nursing in the Stark Learning Center with an advanced simulation learning center and new classrooms where theory and practice come together. With the strategic plan’s emphasis on academic excellence, President Leahy is committed to new investment in faculty scholarship and undergraduate research. A new honors program, a priority for the President, welcomes its first class of first-year students for the 2015 Fall Semester.

With the goal of increasing the University’s undergraduate enrollment, President Leahy launched four new athletic teams and the Marching Colonels, the region’s only marching band.

To reach new student populations, the President is championing efforts to increase enrollment through the development of Wilkes’ presence in Mesa, Arizona and the Poconos. At the graduate level, the President has created a partnership with Hotchalk, and educational technology and media company, to assist in recruiting students for the University’s online graduate nursing programs.

The President has identified partnerships between Wilkes and the City of Wilkes-Barre, and other external partners, as key to creating opportunities that both serve the community and advance the mission of the University locally, regionally and globally. Through the President’s leadership, the University is now host to the Family Business Alliance, designed to provide services and supports for locally family-owned businesses.

President Leahy came to Wilkes from the University of Scranton, where he served as Executive Vice President from 2004 through 2012, and was responsible for Development, Government Relations, Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Intercollegiate Athletics, Planning and Information Technology. At Scranton, he led the University’s successful “Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, raising more than $125 million.

Prior to arriving at the University of Scranton, President Leahy was co-founder and President of the Business Affairs Forum, a 15,000-member distance learning community based in Ithaca, NY. He has worked as an investment officer at Allied Capital Corporation, as an account executive at Deluxe Corporation and a development officer at Georgetown University.

A native of Towson, MD, President Leahy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Georgetown University and earned dual masters degrees from Cornell University in Business Administration and Labor Relations, where he was a Fried Fellow. He earned the Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

President Leahy and his wife, Amy, have four children: Grace, Molly, Jack and Brian.

Wilkes' Uniqueness

Academic Excellence

Ranked 25th in the Nation

University Strategic Plan

University Classification

Campus Improvements

Partnership with the
City of Wilkes-Barre

Research, Scholarship
& Entrepreneurial Activities


Wilkes International Initiative