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Seasoned educational leader Gary Brown to head Mercyhurst North East

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mercyhurst University has named current senior vice president and chief financial officer Gary M. Brown, Ph.D., the new head of its North East campus, effective immediately.

A 24-year employee of the university, Brown is no stranger to North East, where he spent 15 years (1996-2011) in its top leadership post, growing enrollment from 150 to 1,100. Brown resumes his leadership role at North East following the recent retirement of Kenneth Zirkle, Ph.D., who had headed the campus since 2011. 

“We’re very pleased and excited that we have a dynamic leader with a proven track record who can hit the ground running in the midst of a busy recruiting season and marshal the talent and resources of Mercyhurst North East,” said Mercyhurst President Tom Gamble, Ph.D., in making the announcement. “The fact that Gary lives in North East and has built strong relationships with the political, business and philanthropic leadership of the community is an added bonus.”

For the time being, Brown, whose new title is senior vice president and chief operating officer of Mercyhurst North East, will also retain his responsibilities as the university’s principal financial strategist.

In accepting the position, Brown said, “I am very excited about returning to Mercyhurst North East and reconnecting with colleagues and people in the North East community who have always been extremely supportive of MNE.”

While at North East, Brown oversaw the construction of three sets of student townhouses, one freshmen residence hall, the Michele and Tom Ridge Health and Safety Building, the addition of the Janet L. Miller Center for Growth and Academic Excellence in the former First National Bank building at 5999 Station Road, as well as the construction of several new science labs and three athletic fields. Brown laid the foundation for the Mercyhurst Saints athletics department, adding 12 NJCAA athletic programs. Additionally, he was instrumental in helping to raise $2 million from individuals and foundations for the first campus endowment with a million dollar donor matching challenge.

More recently, at the Erie campus, Brown facilitated and prepared the annual operating budget and was the lead administrative resource for three Board of Trustees committees: Budget and finance, strategic finance and buildings/grounds. He also created a multi-year financial model for funding the 2020 Strategic Plan.

Brown earned a bachelor of arts in biology from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. He went on to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in Carbondale, Ill., to earn a master of science in college student personnel and a doctor of philosophy in educational administration and higher education.

Brown brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in higher education administration. His previous posts at Mercyhurst include associate dean of students, director of retention and residence life (1994-1996), and assistant dean of students and director of residence life (1989-1994.) Prior to joining Mercyhurst, Brown was employed at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as the assistant head resident and coordinator of housing programming.

Brown serves as financial advisor to Integlio Productions, a board member of the Lake View Country Club, local advisory board member of First National Bank, and board member of Brevillier Village Retirement Community.