Groundbreaking leader becomes first female lay president
“It is an exciting time, as Alvernia continues on the pathway of transformation into a Regional Comprehensive University,” said Fitzgerald. “Our distinct mission of serving the underserved in the communities where we live, learn and engage has never been stronger. Our vision for the future of higher education combines the best of liberal arts education — emphasizing student-centric learning — with a strong complement of distinguished programs aimed at meeting strategic regional workforce needs.”
Fitzgerald’s tenure, which was announced in March and officially commenced July 1, began with listening sessions with senior leadership, faculty and staff, attending the “President’s Institute: Moral Leadership for a Diverse Campus” hosted by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and Interfaith America in Chicago in June and most recently traveling to Boston for the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents.
“I’m energized by the feedback from our community and gained valuable insight from my fellow first-time presidents and Catholic higher education leadership at the ACCU Conference and Harvard Seminar that will serve me and the institution well as we continue our mission,” said Fitzgerald.
She follows John R. Loyack, who completed a four-year term as president of Alvernia.
“President Loyack has led the University to new heights and has set the stage for an exciting next chapter,” said Fitzgerald. “Alvernia has had a remarkable history of successful presidents who have guided the University through tremendous growth and change. This legacy reflects a strong institution with a clear sense of identity and purpose. Working with the entire University community, I will strive to continue, and build upon, that powerful tradition.”
Before joining Alvernia, Fitzgerald served as associate vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Central Connecticut State University. She developed her expertise in undergraduate and graduate program development, expansion of online learning options, and community and corporate partnerships. As a seasoned faculty member, she rose to full professor in the Department of Communication at Central Connecticut State, where she also served as department chair.
Fitzgerald earned a doctoral degree in organizational/interpersonal communication, a master's in organizational communication from SUNY Buffalo, and a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.