Brescia principal to lead La Salle University

After seven years at the head of Brescia University College, Colleen Hanycz has accepted an appointment to lead La Salle University in Philadelphia, Penn., as its next president, La Salle officials announced Tuesday. When she assumes the role in July, she will be the first female and lay president of La Salle since its founding in 1863.

“This is a pivotal moment in La Salle’s history,” said William R. Sautter, chair of La Salle’s Board of Trustees. “We are very pleased and excited to name Dr. Hanycz as the next President of La Salle University. She is an innovative academic leader with an impressive record as an agent of positive change. She is ideally suited to maximize La Salle’s potential while continuing to honor our distinctive mission and values.”

Throughout her tenure at Brescia, Hanycz has championed the values of Canada’s only women’s university, inspired by the guiding principles of the Ursuline Sisters of the Chatham Union – strong women of faith committed to social justice, community service, and the development of women.

“La Salle is an institution that is similar to Brescia in many ways,” Hanycz said of the private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution of approximately 6,300 students. “Catholic in the Lasallian tradition, this university has thrived for over 150 years, stewarded by the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptist de La Salle. Its focus on serving society and, in particular, those who exist on the margins of our communities, is a familiar and attractive ethos.

“As difficult as it is to imagine leaving Brescia, I believe that La Salle is a perfect place to continue the work I love.”

Hanycz arrived at Brescia in 2008, and has led the university in exceeding its strategic goals, resulting in a student community which has grown by more than 50 per cent over the past five years. She oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art residence – Clare Hall – with its accompanying dining pavilion, The Mercato, arguably the most sophisticated student-centered campus residence complex in the country.

Brescia’s profile in the community has steadily grown and is now recognized internationally for its focus on developing girls and women for leadership.

Hanycz created Take the Lead, which this year will welcome senior high school students from across Canada, launched the Western affiliate’s academic Leadership program in 2009 and expanded its domestic GirlsLEAD camp to the Caribbean and Hong Kong.

“We are so proud of Colleen’s accomplishments over the past seven years and we are grateful for her hard work and dedication to Brescia and our students,” said Liz Hewitt, chair of Brescia’s Board of Trustees. “She has mentored so many young women and advanced the development of female leaders in an unparalleled way. She has set a bright, bold course for Brescia’s future, and while we are sad to see her leave, we know that this is a tremendous opportunity for her and that she will have the same positive influence on the students, faculty and staff of La Salle.”