Alvernia announces senior leadership changes: Loyack transitions to CEO, Board names Fitzgerald President-Elect

After four years of leading unprecedented growth in recruitment, academic programs, and community partnerships, Alvernia president John R. Loyack will transition from the role as the university’s President to CEO to support a presidential transition and to continue community and philanthropic activities for the university.

The Alvernia University Board of Trustees approved the transition plan and appointed Senior Vice President and Provost Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. as the university’s eighth president and first female president in over 30 years.

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“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to John for his visionary leadership and unprecedented level of accomplishment in guiding Alvernia over the past four years,” said chairman of the Alvernia Board of Trustees Gregg Shemanski.

“Despite the challenges brought forth by a global pandemic, competitive pressures in higher education, and an ever-changing landscape in higher education, John’s strategic vision led the university to unprecedented successes while garnering a historic level of resources to support the transformation of the university and the communities in which we serve. These resources, partnerships, and support will help students and the communities we serve for generations to come. John and Glynis will work closely together to ensure a seamless leadership transition and continue the tremendous transformation of our university and our communities. Frankly, what John and our senior leaders have accomplished is unique in today’s world of higher education.”

After becoming the university’s seventh president in July 2019, Loyack led a successful effort to restructure the university and develop and implement a five-year, student-centric strategic plan to attract the largest classes in Alvernia’s history while inspiring an unprecedented transformation of downtown Reading.

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President Loyack’s vision for the university’s CollegeTowne initiatives has paved the way for the university’s expansion in center-city Reading, Pottsville, and Pittston making Alvernia a truly regional university. This encompassed the creation of new academic programs and student living opportunities while also creating new community programming, expanding student experiential learning, and sparking economic redevelopment and new business creation.

“I truly loved the opportunity to lead this incredible university and campus community, and I’m proud of the transformational progress we collectively made for the benefit of our students and the communities in which we serve,” said Loyack.

“I’m fully confident that Dr. Fitzgerald will continue this transformation with the support of our tremendous senior leadership team. Alvernia will always hold a special place in my heart and I look forward to continuing to actively support the university in a new capacity.”

Loyack and Fitzgerald have worked side-by-side since July 2019 when they both arrived at the university. In her role as the senior vice president, provost and chief academic officer, Fitzgerald has sharpened the focus of faculty work and student success through the creation of four colleges. She oversees several other important administrative areas, including information technology and institutional research.

“John has led with direction and vision during a very turbulent time in higher education and I appreciate he will continue to provide counsel and wisdom throughout this transition,” said Fitzgerald.

“I’ve seen firsthand how our administration, faculty, staff, alumni and students create everlasting positive change in our communities and I am grateful for the support of our board of trustees and senior leadership team as we continue our regional expansion through our CollegeTowne initiatives to ensure Alvernia will continue to deliver its transformational Franciscan-based mission across eastern Pennsylvania for future generations.”

The university will undergo a national search to fill the role of Provost.

Before joining Alvernia, Fitzgerald served as associate vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Central Connecticut State University. She developed her expertise in undergraduate and graduate program development, expansion of online learning options, and community and corporate partnerships. As a seasoned faculty member, she rose through the ranks to full professor in the department of communication at Central Connecticut State, where she also served as department chair.

Fitzgerald earned a doctoral degree in organizational/interpersonal communication and a master’s in organizational communication from SUNY Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

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