Glynis Fitzgerald 2024

Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

In July 2023, Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., became Alvernia University’s eighth president and the first female layperson appointed to the role in the University’s history. She served as senior vice president and provost for four years, helping lead Alvernia through exceptional growth and transformation.

As president, Fitzgerald is accelerating that momentum to shepherd Alvernia into the future and shape higher education for a new generation while carrying forward the spirit of Alvernia’s foundresses, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, who have been caring for students with unwavering compassion and love for nearly a century. Likewise, Fitzgerald is deeply committed to fostering a caring learning environment that nurtures students individually through their academic journey and beyond.

Alvernia University President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. welcomes students into Francis Hall

Under Fitzgerald’s leadership, Alvernia’s world-class faculty is delivering a distinctive, student-centered liberal arts based curriculum and innovative technical programs designed to meet the evolving needs of today’s workforce. Fitzgerald has fostered many vital partnerships with regional industry leaders to develop and refresh academic programs that allow students to step right into their careers. This includes a new Physician Associate program developed in anticipation of an influx of new doctors into the region’s many healthcare systems; an apprenticeship to degree program connecting students, beginning in their sophomore year, with employers in their fields; and the O’Pake Fellows Program, which provides students the support and space to work with as many as 20 different companies on real-world projects through their college careers.

Fitzgerald is also spearheading several projects to expand Alvernia’s footprint throughout the region by meeting the needs of the communities and students. Continuing the success of the university’s innovative town-gown CollegeTowne model, Fitzgerald is funding new community-based resource centers in Pottsville and various locations throughout the greater Philadelphia metro area. These locations provide a mixture of graduate, adult education, and certificate programs while an ever-expanding partnership network provides high-touch experiential learning opportunities for students. These efforts simultaneously aid economic development and entrepreneurship throughout the region.

Fitzgerald prioritizes community unity and service and enjoys meeting students, faculty, and staff where they are, and genuinely supports their endeavors. She embraces the Bernardine Sisters’ commitment to service. She joins the campus community in making a difference in others’ lives through Alvernia’s service days and evolving strategic service initiatives housed in the university’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement.

Alvernia President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. serves during the annual move-in day of service event.

Among Fitzgerald’s strategic priorities as president is to make college more accessible and to help remove barriers to persistence for all students. Alvernia’s Hope Fund was established in 2020, over 1,000 students have continued their education, despite financial challenges. Access and opportunity, along with academic engagement, student success, and community engagement, are pillars in Alvernia’s largest comprehensive campaign in history, Partners in Progress, which entered its public phase in October 2023. The campaign garnered $55 million of an ambitious goal of $70 million in just three years to continue to fund the university’s strategic direction.

Her leadership extends deeply into the community and beyond. She sits on the Central PA Advisory Board and the Corporate Marketing Committee of Caron Treatment Centers. She is the Vice Chair of the Reading Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She is committed to caring for the environment and is actively instituting sustainability initiatives across Alvernia’s locations. She loves the outdoors, and, in her free time, she and her son Conor enjoy theater, live music, horseback riding and travel.

Fitzgerald’s 25 years of experience as a higher education leader includes Fitzgerald’s previous service as associate vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Central Connecticut State University, where she was also a professor. She earned doctoral and master’s degrees in organizational communication at SUNY Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in communication at Edinboro University.

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