Following a national search that attracted an impressive field of highly qualified candidates, Alvernia University has appointed David Myers as the founding Director of its O'Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service. In this role, Myers will direct the institute’s work to serve as a regional nucleus for dialogue on contemporary ethical issues, particularly as they involve leadership, public service and the integration of teaching and scholarship into service-leadership for a sustainable future.
In addition, he will lead efforts to link members of the Alvernia and surrounding communities to foster civic leadership and public service while highlighting the university’s emphasis on ethics education.
Named after long-time Alvernia board member Sen. Mike O’Pake who died in December 2010 after serving nearly four decades in the Pennsylvania state senate, the O’Pake Institute commemorates the senator’s personal commitment to ethics and leadership. “Senator O’Pake was an impressive and influential statesman who embodied the best in public service,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn.
“He understood that the future of our democracy requires us all to become, in the words of our university mission statement, “engaged citizens and ethical leaders with moral courage. David is extraordinarily well suited to carry on that vision and lead the institute that bears Sen. O’Pake’s name,” said Flynn.
Myers has held a number leadership positions in higher education and state government. Most recently, he served as executive director for external relations and economic development at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa., where he also was chief of staff for the office of the president. While there, he helped create the Bucknell Entrepreneurs Incubator, managed sponsored research programs, and guided the university’s economic development activities, including working to advance the downtown business corridor in Lewisburg. As chief of staff, he oversaw administrative operations of the president's office and assisted with a range of major initiatives, such as the university's strategic and campus master plans. Prior to that, Myers was deputy chief of staff for Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, where he oversaw management and operation of the governor's office including the human resources, budget and information technology areas. Among his other leadership responsibilities was serving as the governor's liaison with the state's system of higher education and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the agency responsible for the conservation of Pennsylvania’s historic heritage.
Myers has also served in several positions in the state legislature and the administration of former Governor Robert Casey. During the Casey administration, he was instrumental in creating the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which served as the model for the national program providing health insurance coverage for children of families with low or moderate income.
A graduate of Cornell University, Myers holds a Master's degree in history from the University of Massachusetts. His 27 years of experience in program and policy development and implementation include positions with the Hospital and Health Systems Association of Pennsylvania and the Department of Environmental Resources, and as special assistant to the governor. He has also acted as executive director of the senate education committee and assistant dean of students at Rutgers College.
“David is a perfect fit for this position. His extensive leadership background in both public service and higher education are ideal to direct the O’Pake Institute,” said Alvernia Provost Shirley Williams. “His experience working in government and with elected officials will be an asset, as will his deep knowledge of legislation, civic leadership and economic development.”
In addition to the O’Pake Institute, Alvernia houses the late senator’s entire collection of political papers related to his remarkable career in state government, an archive that has attracted interest from historians, scholars and students.