La Salle University, established through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, and known for its academic excellence, practical teaching, and devotion to students, today announced the appointment of Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., as its 29th President. Hanycz is currently Principal (a Canadian equivalent of President) of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, Canada. An accomplished attorney and administrative leader as well as a devout Roman Catholic, Hanycz will be the first layperson—and first woman—to serve as President in a non-interim capacity in the 152-year history of La Salle University.
Today’s historic appointment was announced by William R. Sautter, ’71, Chair of La Salle’s Board of Trustees.
“This is a pivotal moment in La Salle’s history,” Sautter said. “We are very pleased and excited to name Dr. Hanycz as the next President of La Salle University. She is an innovative academic leader with an impressive record as an agent of positive change. She is ideally suited to maximize La Salle’s potential while continuing to honor our distinctive mission and values.”
“This appointment extends the tradition of strong leadership at La Salle,” said Brother Dennis Malloy, F.S.C., ’74, M.A. ’83, La Salle Trustee and Provincial / Visitor for the District of Eastern North America of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. “Dr. Hanycz is passionate about sustaining and enhancing the values and attributes that are central to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, such as commitment to academic excellence, a spirit of community, and an ethos of social justice and care for the most vulnerable in society—all of which are at the core of our Catholic Lasallian tradition. The Christian Brothers look forward to working collaboratively with Dr. Hanycz and the Board of Trustees as she takes office.”
Hanycz was selected during a special meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees on Thursday, Feb. 12. Hanycz will formally succeed Brother Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D., ’70, who stepped down at the end of his term on May 31, 2014, after serving 15 years as President. James P. Gallagher, Ph.D., has been serving as Interim President since June 2014 and has been assisting the University in its search for a new president.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed the next President of La Salle University,” Hanycz said. “I have a deep appreciation for La Salle’s exceptional values and its sense of purpose and mission. I attended a Lasallian high school, and I understand that the educational charism of the Christian Brothers emphasizes a commitment to academic rigor, a strong sense of social justice and service, and dedication to a transformational educational experience. I am eager to work with the entire La Salle community to build upon La Salle’s strengths and to position it as a leading Catholic university.”
Hanycz has served as President of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, since July 2008. She is the second lay President in the history of Brescia, a Catholic school that is Canada’s only women’s university. At Brescia, Hanycz developed and implemented a bold strategic plan that has resulted in a significant increase in Brescia’s national profile, growth in enrollment, retention of high-quality students, faculty, and staff, and development of innovative academic programs. Throughout her presidency at Brescia, she has continued her scholarly activities in the area of dispute resolution and has taught in Brescia’s Leadership program and in the LL.M. program at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.
Prior to her appointment at Brescia, Hanycz served as Assistant Dean and associate professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School from 2003 to 2008. Previously, she worked as a securities and employment litigator at Heenan Blaikie law firm in Toronto from 1994 to 1999.
Hancyz earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in history from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. She completed her J.D. at Dalhousie University and her LL.M. and Ph.D. at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Hanycz is a past chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada and serves as Vice Chair of the board of the London Health Sciences Centre and as a director of St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario. She is also an elected member of the Public Accountants’ Council of Ontario, among various other community roles.
Hanycz was recognized for her community contributions and educational leadership as a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and she will be honored with the 2015 YMCA Women of Excellence Award later this spring.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth-best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education.