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Day One: The Victor years begin

Monday, August 3, 2015

Today isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill Monday. At Mercyhurst University, it’s a day marked by anticipation, a sense of rejuvenation and, human nature being what it is, a little curiosity.

Today marks the first day of Michael Victor’s presidency and, just as he promised, the door to Old Main 111 is open and the proverbial welcome mat in place. The walls of his new office are a bright canary yellow. In almost every culture, Victor notes, yellow represents sunshine, happiness and warmth and is consistent with his goal of reinvigorating the spirit of Mercyhurst.

That same spirit of rebirth and renewal will play out today as Victor signals the ringing of the university’s carillon, which had fallen silent for the past two years. Victor secured a gift from an anonymous donor to obtain a new digital carillon, which was installed recently in O’Neil Tower. The college community is invited to gather in front of Old Main at 1:45 p.m. to welcome President Victor and to hear the carillon play the Mercyhurst Alma Mater. (See separate story on the carillon.)

“I am thrilled to come home to an institution and city I love,” said Victor, who rose to the top of a crowded field of presidential hopefuls during the national search for Mercyhurst’s 12th president. Most recently, Victor was the president of Lake Erie College in nearby Painesville, Ohio. He is a former dean of the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst.

His appointment was made public last May, at which time Board of Trustees Chair-elect and Presidential Search Co-chair Richard Lanzillo said, “As president of Lake Erie College, Michael Victor has demonstrated the pursuit of excellence at every level of the institution, making a distinctive mark on academic programs, athletic programs, fundraising initiatives and community engagement. His experience, energy and optimism are a fitting match for our community.”

On the agenda for his first day, Victor plans to attend the annual Athletics Department Breakfast Meeting, where he’ll engage more than 70 administrators, coaches, assistant coaches and staff. In addition, his calendar has him meeting with various constituents and presiding over the ringing of the carillon.

In short order, Victor intends to meet as many members of the Mercyhurst community as possible, move forward on a new strategic plan, and refocus academic offerings in certain key areas, including the development of niche majors and medically-based programs. He is also expected to announce his complete cabinet in the near future.

Meanwhile, a former Mercyhurst North East staffer, Stacey Wiley, has been named Victor’s administrative assistant. She replaces Betsy Frank, who assumes a new role as director of Executive Office Projects and Events.   

Victor intends to be highly visible on campus and in the Erie community, having already slated a series of get-togethers and speaking engagements. “I’m definitely not going to be a president you only see at convocation and commencement,” he said.