Loyack Sister Marilisa Helen and Tom Flynn PLEX Blessing

Recognized as innovative leader in independent higher education


Alvernia University President Emeritus Dr. Thomas F. Flynn earns the Credo Courageous Leadership Award and was honored during the Council for Independent Colleges Presidents Institute on Jan. 5.


“In our partnership with Tom and Alvernia, we were continually impressed by how Tom fostered a strategic and caring relationship with the leadership of the sisters, worked with his team to transform the campus into a residential student experience, and thoughtfully planned for a smart executive transition,” said Tom Gavic, President / CoFounder of Credo.


During Flynn’s tenure as president, guided by its inclusive Franciscan core values, Alvernia emerged as a national leader in community service, civic engagement and interfaith dialogue due in large part to the establishment of the O’Pake Institute, the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement and the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program.


Among his many accomplishments is the evolution of the physical campus, with a new campus entrance; Founder's Village and the Campus Commons; upgraded facilities for teaching and learning, fine arts and athletics; and the Flynn PLEX, a 100,000 square foot Recreation, Wellness and Health Sciences Complex.


"Tom has been unwavering in his commitment to our Franciscan mission, our identity as a Catholic university and the living legacy of our sponsors, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters," said Kevin St. Cyr, Alvernia trustee emeritus.


Flynn is the seventh recipient of the award which is given annually by Credo to recognize an innovative leader in independent higher education that has fostered growth in enrollment, fundraising, retention, demonstrated a proven track record of fostering collaborative relationships among individuals and teams, developed strategic, game-changing planning for and investments in campus spaces and places, articulated and executed a clear vision for the future their institution, developed next-practice innovation in operations, academics, net revenue, strategic planning, student success and is acknowledged by peers and within the field of higher education as an advocate and champion of private higher education.


Flynn earned emeritus status in June 2019 before ending his tenure as Alvernia’s president and is currently a part-time Senior Fellow for both the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and the Association of Governing Boards.