La Roche University Presidential Search Update

Dear La Roche University Community Members, 

The search for LRU's new president is well underway, and the outcome will have a significant immediate and long-term impact on our community. The Search Committee understands it's essential to inform you about our goals, process, timeline, and results.

Governing Documents: Our process is informed by and subject to LRU's governing documents. LRU's Bylaws grant the Board of Trustees the power and duty to appoint the president and provide the Sisters of Divine Providence the right to disapprove the Board's choice of presidential candidates. Pursuant to LRU's Presidential Succession Plan, the Board appointed Dr. Howard Ishiyama as Interim President and created a Presidential Search Committee (the "Committee") with representatives from the Board, the Sisters of Divine Providence, faculty, administration, undergraduate students, graduate students, and alums. A roster of the Committee is at the end of this email. Also, in accordance with the Presidential Succession Plan, the Committee hired the nationally recognized search firm WittKieffer. 

WittKieffer: The Committee selected WittKieffer from 12 potential search firms that we considered to be possible fits. We narrowed the 12 firms to four and interviewed and thoroughly vetted all four. We settled on WittKieffer because of their outstanding references, extensive experience with Catholic Institutions, and connection with Pittsburgh. Dr. Melody Rose, John Thornburgh (Pittsburgh resident), and Alejandra Gillette-Teran have been proactive, professional, responsive, informative, and essential to our search. 

Confidentiality: To create the broadest possible pool of candidates, the Committee is conducting a confidential search. This means that information about candidates and specific details on the search cannot be shared outside the Committee. The purpose of a confidential search is to allow potential applicants to apply without fear of reprisal from their current employers. We hope to have sitting presidents, provosts, and senior staff among our pool of applicants. Few would apply if they thought their current employers would learn they were considering a change. 

Other Activity to Date: WittKieffer has held listening sessions with Dr. Ishiyama, the President’s Executive Council, Academic Division Chairs, Faculty, staff, student leaders, alumni, the Sisters of Divine Providence, and the Committee. The listening sessions went very well. I'm pleased to report that there is a consensus that we need a dynamic and compassionate new president who supports LRU's mission, staff, and students. We're looking for someone with a proven track record of leadership and fundraising who is an agent of change and understands the difficulties faced by small private colleges and universities. With the assistance of the La Roche Marketing & Media Team and WittKieffer, we created a Leadership Profile that we're using as a recruiting document. We've advertised the position in, Asians in Higher Ed, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, HACU – Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities,, Hispanic Outlook, Inside Higher Ed, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Women Leaders in Higher Education, and Women in Higher Education. Again, with the assistance of our wonderful Marketing & Media Team, we created a Presidential Search page on LRU's website. 

Results to Date: We're in the early stages of the process. A significant number of individuals have expressed interest and are considering the opportunity. Additionally, a substantial number of individuals have applied for the position. We are pleased with the progress and expect the number of applicants to increase as we get closer to the application deadline. 

Timeline: Starting in January and continuing through spring, the priority application deadline will pass, the Committee will review candidate materials, the Committee will select and interview semi-finalists, the Committee will select finalists, WittKieffer will conduct background checks and referencing on finalists, and the Committee, the entire Board and other representatives from the LRU community will conduct in-person interviews with finalists. Finally, the Board as a whole will select one of the finalists to be invited to be LRU's next president. Our goal is to have an accepted offer by Spring 2024.

Presidential Search Committee Roster: The Sisters of Divine Providence, faculty, administration, undergraduate student, graduate student, and alumni Committee members were chosen to represent their respective LRU community. Dione Graswick, ‘93 (Board Chair), Dr. Cindy Piccirilli, ‘79 (Board Member), Ernestine Harris, ’03, ‘10 (Board Member), Hoddy Hanna (Board Member), Lyle Albaugh (Board Vice Chair, Search Committee Chair), Mike Kenitz, ’80 (Board Member), Susan Renda (Board Member), Sister Michele Bisbey,’71 CDP, Ph.D. (Board Member, Provincial Director - CDP), Sister Peg Albert, O.P., Ph.D. (Board Member), Sister Kathleen Matz, CDP (Board Member), Colleen Ruefle (Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students), Dr. Rishi Bahl (Chair of Academic Senate & Faculty Rep.), Mohammed Massad (Undergraduate Student President), Isabella Wallace, ‘20 (Graduate Student), and Jonathan Mancuso, ‘14 (President of Alumni Association). 

I appreciate your interest in the search for the next president of LRU. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns about the search. My door is always open.

Lyle D. Albaugh