Alvernia celebrates installation of eighth president

Alvernia officially installs Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., as its eighth president in the institution’s history during an inauguration ceremony on Friday afternoon at the university’s Physical Education Center.

“This is indeed a great day for the university,” said Alvernia University Board of Trustees Chairperson Gregory J. Shemanski. “For only the eighth time in our 65-year history, we observe the installation of a new leader. Today we celebrate a new beginning—building on the strong foundation set by our foundresses, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, and the previous seven presidents of Alvernia.”

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During the presidential address, Fitzgerald outlined her reasons for optimism for the future of Alvernia University which included the university’s history of service and innovation, the campus locations and the communities in which the university serves, the university’s ever-evolving culture of care and commitment to student success and deepening strategic partnership network.

“As President, I intend to foster an atmosphere where we facilitate conversations with our community partners in determining how to approach problems together, asking the right questions to flesh out the relevant issues to be addressed, and furthering the deep work in the community with partners already active in these spaces,” said Fitzgerald. “So, as I accept the honor and responsibility of being inaugurated as Alvernia’s eighth president, I invite you to be my partners, to be Alvernia’s partners, as we undertake that work.”

Over 300 attendees, including elected officials, college officials, Alvernia students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and personal friends of Fitzgerald, gathered for the ceremony.

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“In the years I’ve known Dr. Fitzgerald, she has proven herself to be a compassionate leader, an innovator who has the mission of Alvernia University at heart, and someone who is very involved within our community,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Judith L. Schwank.

Following nearly five years as Senior Vice President and Provost, Fitzgerald commenced her tenure as president on July 1, 2023. The week of inauguration events showcased the history and tradition of the university and academia, as well as an inside look at Fitzgerald’s vision and personality.

“Ever since I met her during our grad school days, the word exactly was Dr Fitzgerald’s simple yet elegant way to express that she is engaged and fully on board in conversation with you,” said Rutgers University Chair of Communication and Fitzgerald’s graduate school classmate Marya L. Doerfel, Ph.D. “Now, standing here reflecting on the person I knew then and who I know now, it is clear to me that her character, her ability to translate across worlds, her dedication to the service of others, and her fundamental knowledge about communication and relationships is why I get to use her word- exactly! She is exactly why we’re here today.”

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