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  • Steve Morano

Innovative Plans of Joyce

Steven Morano


On Dec. 14, 2023, Mount St. Mary’s University announced Dr. Gerard “Jerry” Joyce as the university’s 27th President after a search that began last March when President Timothy Trainor announced his retirement at the end of the 2024 academic year.


The Presidential Search Committee, a group of alumni, faculty and student representatives as well as the executive search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, were tasked with finding a new candidate to fill the role.


On the selection of Joyce to the role of President of the university, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Gracelyn McDermott (C’93), said via the school’s website that, “With his dedication to academic distinction, drive for mission-oriented expansion and commitment to the values inherent in Catholic education, Dr. Joyce will position the Mount for excellence in the years ahead.”


A native of Philadelphia, Joyce has a thorough career in higher education, as he currently serves as Executive Vice President of DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.


In his three-decade tenure at DeSales, Joyce has also served as Director of Student Activities, Director of Conference Services, Dean of Enrollment Management, Vice President for Student Life and Interim President of the school in 2017 before taking over the role as Executive Vice President in 2018.


“My interest in higher education is really about the students and every experience I have been afforded over the past 32 years, which have been varied, have contributed to the success of students.” Joyce said.


With the needs of a growing student body and a campus that is ever expanding with renovations on the Science Building and at the ARCC, Joyce spoke on the prospect of further expansion saying, “I think the Mount is well poised and situated to only grow, what that growth looks like will depend on a couple different factors.” One of those factors is how well the Mount will fair in the 2026 Enrollment Cliff.


“I think we will fair it well because we have an incredible brand here at the Mount. It’s not just a university, it’s a seminary and a National Shrine Grotto and those things together, no one has that”, added Joyce.


 Diversity among the students and faculty has not only grown but flourished under Trainor and will hopefully continue to grow under Joyce. He said that “I need to listen to people and I need to understand the different things that make up the university when it comes to diversity and making a more diverse community.”


He added, “There’s a lot of really good, smart people here and I don’t like to make decisions in silos or vacuums, so I want to have a lot of discussion about that so that we are meeting the needs of students so that they are successful for life.”


Many people at the university have also spoken about the prospect of Joyce coming to the Mount. “With the incoming President Joyce, we have an optimistic attitude that all the good things that have been happening since President Trainor has been here will continue.” said Dr. Peter Dorsey.


Chair of the Department of Political Science, Dr. Michael Towle said, “My hope for him is that he can maintain our sense of community while addressing the two big challenges we have: enrollment and employee compensation.”


Dr. Christine Blackshaw of the Department of World Languages and Cultures said, “He seems well equipped to build on President Trainor’s initiatives and accomplishments. While at DeSales Dr. Joyce raised and redistributed funds to offer millions of dollars in grants and scholarships for students.” The status of grants and scholarships for students is particularly important to Blackshaw as she is the Director of the Office of Competitive Fellowships which directly deals with those issues.


During the festivities of Homecoming weekend in January, Joyce, along with his wife and children attended many events held on campus including a meet and greet with faculty and students, tours of the facilities on campus and a basketball game.


Joyce will begin his tenure as President of Mount St. Mary’s University on July 1, 2024.


Kelly Blanco

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