SHU President of 25 years announces retirement

Since before Seton Hill University (SHU) had male students, the Griffin or iPads, the university was lead by President JoAnne Boyle. Boyle, SHU’s longest serving president, announced that she plans to retire by June 30, 2013. Students received letters and a campus wide email on January 17, 2013 notifying them of the announcement.

“The University is the strongest it’s ever been. It has strong financial positioning. Enrollment is high. We have fine students. Exciting programs have been developed for future needs of the region. We’ve done some extraordinary fundraising and two new buildings are planned. It seemed like a good time to look at accomplishments and leave the school in good hands,” said Boyle in a phone interview.

A SHU press release said that Boyle’s successor will be named by a selection committee headed by Michele Moore Ridge, chair of the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees. Trustees, alumni, faculty and student representatives will be a part of the recommendation process. According to Boyle, the search process will be extensive.

Boyle had some advice out of her 25 years as SHU’s president for her successor, though she noted that “it will be up to a new president to assess where the university is and where they want to go.”

“This is a wonderful job. There is nothing more exciting than thinking about young people and their futures and what will prepare them best. Looking globally. Making sure opportunities for students internationally are enriched. Those are all the things that I would advise,” said Boyle.

Boyle has led the school to many changes since she she was named president of SHU in 1987 (see sidebar).

“President Boyle has been an outstanding leader for Seton Hill University. She has worked diligently to strengthen the University’s academic and financial foundations and has led Seton Hill forward by focusing campus resources on programs, faculty, key personnel and facilities that position the University as an educational leader in the nation,” said Ridge in her announcement of Boyle’s retirement.

Boyle said the most visible change in SHU has been the change to being a coeducational university. Over all, however, she said she appreciated all of the areas SHU has grown.

“It’s energizing and wonderful. Growth means you’re alive,” said Boyle.

As for favorite memories, Boyle said they are student-centered.

“It’s so hard to pick one favorite memory. In one day there might be a hundred precious moments. Most of them are associated with something a student has done that I’ve learned about or that they’ve come to tell me about. Those are some powerful memories,” said Boyle.

Boyle has plans to fill up her time after retirement that harken back to her time as an English professor at SHU. Her extensive reading list features rereading the works of William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, and C.S. Forester. She also wants to read more modern award winning literature.

“I love reading. Reading is the most important thing to do every day. I have hardly had the time to keep up with the things I want to read.” Some Changes to SHU during Boyle’s Presidency



-SHU became Coeducational

-SHU added graduate courses

-SHU became Coeducational
-SHU added graduate courses
-Restoration of the Administration Building
-Construction of McKenna Center, Farrell Hall, DeChantal Hall, and the Athletic Field house
-Expansion downtown including utilizing an existing building for the Visual Arts Center and building the  Performing Arts Center
-More than 100 endowed scholarship funds added
-Strengthened international faculty and student exchange programs
-Established NCCHE (National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education)
-Opened Women’s Business Center, Center for Family Therapy, Center for Orthodontics, and the Wukich Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities
-Partnered with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)
-Added 5 year Physicians Assistant program
-”iPad for Everyone” initiative
-Move to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and then to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in 2012.

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