The Online Edition

President’s Letter

Recalling Seven Years At One of The Finest Small Universities


President Patrick F. Leahy speaks at Sordoni Art Gallery’s opening, one of the highlights during his tenure. 

On September 15, 2012, I had the honor of being installed as Wilkes University’s sixth president. Soon after beginning my tenure, I worked closely with members of the campus community to create a plan that would position Wilkes as one of the finest “small universities” in the country. This vision placed equal emphasis on the words small and university, instead of viewing them as mutually exclusive descriptors. At Wilkes, we offer a unique experience that celebrates the integration of the words small and university – one that blends a close-knit, mentoring culture with academic opportunities often found at much larger institutions.

Over the past seven years, we have worked to more fully develop into a doctoral university by making significant investments in academics, research, and the campus.  We have added 25 new academic programs, including the launch of the University’s first Ph.D. To encourage research, we created a $1 million fund that supports scholarly endeavors of faculty members. In many cases, faculty work hand-in-hand with undergraduate students to complete this important work, which is celebrated annually at the Research and Scholarship Symposium. More discovery is happening at Wilkes than ever before, resulting in the University’s first six patents.

Unprecedented improvements have also been made to the campus, totaling a remarkable $100 million. The beauty of the Wilkes campus has never been more apparent, and investments in academic labs and classrooms have enhanced the learning environment.

And, our enduring commitment to the arts continues. The Sordoni Art Gallery has experienced a resurgence, with an expanded location, new leadership, and an endowment to support exhibitions. The Marching Colonels, the region’s only collegiate marching band, adds spirit to campus and community events. And, through the generosity of the Maslow Family, Wilkes’ graduate program in creative writing will continue to grow for years to come.

In January, these efforts culminated in a milestone achievement for Wilkes University – earning doctoral university status from the Carnegie Classifications.  Wilkes is now part of a list (albeit a long one) of the finest universities in the country, and we are one of the smallest on the list.

It has been a privilege to play a role in the evolution of this incredible institution and I am confident that more progress lies ahead. Thank you all for your support and dedication to Wilkes University.