The Board of Trustees of Mercyhurst College announced Friday, Jan.14, the election of Dr. Michael J. McQuillen, former vice president of academic affairs and dean, as interim president of the college. The appointment was approved by the board through action by written consent and certified Thursday night, Jan. 13, at 7:29 p.m. by Robert S. Miller, secretary of the college.
“Dr. McQuillen epitomizes the words, ‘scholar and gentleman,’” said Marlene Mosco, chair of the Board of Trustees. “He was attractive to the board because of his background as a senior faculty member with extensive senior administrative experience. He is well respected by the faculty, administration, staff and student body, and his appointment should create an almost seamless transition in leadership at the college,” Mosco explained.
McQuillen will succeed Dr. William P. Garvey, who retires as college president on Feb. 23, following an unprecedented 25 years of remarkable growth on both the Erie and North East campuses of Mercyhurst College.
Mosco said, “Dr. McQuillen understands the Mercyhurst culture and the board found his college record of experience in both teaching and administration, as well as his personal qualities, to be compelling as our leadership choice for this transition period at the college.”
Mosco said that McQuillen is currently on a 10-week sabbatical in Fort Collins, Colo., but will return to the college to begin his presidency on March 7. He will lead the college for the 12 to 18 months while the board begins the search and selection process to identify the next president of Mercyhurst College.
McQuillen, 60, is a native of Tonawanda, N.Y., and has been with Mercyhurst since 1971, coming to the college at age 27. He currently holds the rank of professor of history. He was granted tenure by the board of trustees in 1977.
He served as vice president of academic affairs of the college from 1988-1994, associate dean from 1994-1996 and dean of libraries from 1999-2002. He is a former director of the history department, past chair of the division of social sciences, a former director of the Egan Scholars program and was a member of the President's Cabinet for eight years.
In addition, he was co-chair of the 1992 Middle States Self-Study Evaluation team and received the prestigious “Teaching Excellence Award” from the college in 2003 by vote of his peers in recognition of his commitment to the teaching profession and for upholding the highest standards in education as a master teacher and role model at the college.
McQuillen said, “I accept this appointment as interim president of Mercyhurst with a feeling of pride in the institution and humility in the selection. There are many talented men and women on the faculty and administration of the college who are capable of administering the college in the months ahead.
“My wife Joy and I and our children have always felt a deep attachment to the college, and I have always been happy to serve in whatever capacity my skills could enhance the Mercyhurst mission. That includes stepping up to this last challenge.”
He added, “It is a tremendous honor to have been selected as interim president of Mercyhurst and I pledge to embrace this new role.”
Mosco noted that the board of trustees makes McQuillen’s appointment to the interim presidency fewer than 30 days after Garvey announced his forthcoming retirement to the trustees on Dec. 16, 2004.
“This is the first step by the board to ensure that the momentum of Mercyhurst continues,” Mosco explained. “We have turned the page to begin a new chapter in the college’s 78-year history. In the near future we will announce the members of a presidential search committee who will begin working on the search and selection process to identify the next president of Mercyhurst College,” she added.
McQuillen earned his bachelor of arts degree in history from Canisius College in 1966 and his doctoral degree in history from the University of Virginia in 1973, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
He is a noted author of local historical writings, in particular of the Dr. Gertrude Barber Center, the Hammermill Paper Company and Eriez Magnetics.
He and his wife are the parents of three children: David, 34, Daniel 33 and Carolyn 29 – all of whom are graduates of Mercyhurst College, as is Mrs. McQuillen, a former academic counselor at the college.
Mrs. McQuillen moved to Fort Collins, Colo. two years ago after retiring from the college to prepare for the couple’s retirement close to their children.
Dr. McQuillen plans to retire from the college at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year or as soon thereafter as the board selects a new president and the transitional months are completed.
Action by Written Consent of the Mercyhurst College Board of Trustees
With the powers of my office as secretary of the college, I, Robert S. Miller, do hereby certify that by approval of the Mercyhurst College Board of Trustees, Dr. Michael J. McQuillen is elected interim president of Mercyhurst College.
Further, he will serve as president with all the rights and privileges of the office beginning the first day of spring term, March 7, 2005, for the next 12 to 18 months or until such time as the presidential search committee recommends to the board of trustees the 10th president of Mercyhurst College to succeed Dr. William P. Garvey, who served as president from July 1, 1980, until his retirement date Feb. 23, 2005.
Witness my signature and the seal of the college this 13th day of January in the year 2005.
Robert S. Miller, Secretary of the College
Official time of certification: 7:29 p.m.