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Michael Victor to be inaugurated as 12th president

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mercyhurst University will officially inaugurate Michael T. Victor, J.D., LL.D., as its 12th president on Saturday, Sept. 10, in a ceremony of academic pageantry at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The theme for the celebration is:

“Renewal through Mercy: The Next 90 Years.”

The 1:30 p.m. investiture will be preceded by an inaugural Mass in Mercyhurst’s Christ the King Chapel at 10 a.m. celebrated by the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, Bishop of Erie, and Father James Piszker, Mercyhurst University chaplain. The one-day celebration will conclude on the Erie bayfront, taking full advantage of the majestic Tall Ships Festival with a black-tie gala aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara at 7 p.m. and the inaugural ball following at 9 in the Bayfront Convention Center.

“The entire Mercyhurst community, from its students, faculty and staff to alumni and friends, is delighted to honor Michael Victor as our 12th president,” said Richard A. Lanzillo, Esq., chair of the Mercyhurst University Board of Trustees. “The day is a joyous occasion to celebrate not only President Victor’s outstanding leadership but Mercyhurst’s proud 90-year history.”

Lanzillo will preside over the investiture, which will be attended by delegates from nearly two dozen colleges, universities and educational societies, among them Duquesne University, Seton Hill University, Carlow University, St. Bonaventure University, and the Conference for Mercy Higher Education, along with representatives of Erie’s higher education institutions.

Also expected are local community and business leaders, including Tom Hagen, chairman of the board of Erie Insurance Group; former Pennsylvania First Lady Michele Ridge; Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and her husband, Dan; and United Way of Erie County President Bill Jackson. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife, Sue, will also be attending.

Slated to deliver greetings and remarks are Victor’s two daughters, Sloane Victor and Courtney Victor Russ, and Scott Evans, vice president for philanthropy and external affairs at Lake Erie College, where Victor previously served as president.

Frank Victor will present his brother with the Celtic Cross during the ceremonial “Presentation of Gifts.” Shannon Holley, Mercyhurst Student Government president, will present the Celtic Tree, and Joanne McGurk, Mercyhurst Faculty Senate president, the Lamp of Learning.

Victor assumed the presidency of Mercyhurst University on Aug. 1, 2015. In the past year, his leadership team has set records both in enrollment, welcoming 728 new freshman, besting the previous 2004 record of 717 freshmen; and in fundraising, bringing in $6.57 million, the largest amount in any fiscal year. It has been a whirlwind first year with changes to the university’s academic organization, core curriculum and calendar.

President Victor served as dean of Mercyhurst’s Walker School of Business from 2002 to 2006 before accepting the presidency of Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where he served from 2006 to 2015.

Besides his impact on higher education, Victor is widely respected as a civic and business leader, attorney and entrepreneur. He holds a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe and a juris doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. He began his professional career as an attorney in the corporate law department of MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton in Erie. From 1988 to 2000 he was CEO of Pyramid Industries in Erie, and then embraced a challenging and rewarding career in higher education. 

He brings a unique set of credentials to his leadership role at Mercyhurst and possesses the needed business acumen to keep a studied eye on the collegiate and business enterprise of a 21st century institution of higher education.

Born in Ridgway, he has lived in Erie most of his life. Even while leading Lake Erie College, he maintained his residence in Erie’s Millcreek Township.

He and his wife, Craige, have four adult children: Courtney Victor Russ, her husband Colin Russ, and their two daughters, Reagan and Sawyer; Sloane Victor; Wade Root and Atty. P. Bowman Root IV.

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