On July 6, 2015, Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., became La Salle University’s 29th President—the first layperson and first woman to serve as President in a non-interim capacity in La Salle’s 152-year history.
Throughout her accomplished career as an attorney, professor, and administrator, Hanycz has been an active proponent of Catholic education as a means to advance the common good and to celebrate the dignity of each person.
Hanycz previously served as Principal (a Canadian equivalent of President) of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, Canada. During her seven-year tenure at Brescia, a Catholic women’s college, Hanycz implemented a bold strategic plan that raised the college’s national profile, increased enrollment by 50 percent in the last five years, improved retention rates for talented students, faculty, and staff, doubled on-campus residence space, and developed innovative academic programs.
At Brescia, Hanycz also launched a rebranding initiative to capitalize on Brescia’s identity as Canada’s only women’s college and to place an emphasis on women’s leadership. As part of the Brescia Bold—Choose to Lead initiative, Brescia developed an academic program on leadership, instituted a public speaking contest for female high school seniors across Canada, and expanded its Girls LEAD leadership development camps to international locations in the Caribbean and Hong Kong.
A native of Toronto, Hanycz attended Senator O’Connor College High School, which was then led by the Christian Brothers—the same order that operates La Salle University. She has said that the Lasallian charism has had a deep influence on the values she applies to her life and her work, visible in her commitment to a transformational academic experience, authentic community, and service to the most vulnerable in society.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in history from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, Hanycz completed her law degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and her master’s and Ph.D. in law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.
After working for several years as a securities and employment litigator at the Heenan Blaikie, LLP in Toronto, Hanycz became assistant dean and associate professor of law at Osgoode Hall in 2003. Even during her tenure as Principal of Brescia, Hanycz carried on scholarly activities in the area of dispute resolution and continued to teach in Brescia’s leadership program and in the LL.M. program at Osgoode Hall.
Hanycz is a past chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada and has served 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 was honored with the 2015 YMCA Women of Excellence Award.
Hanycz and her husband Peter have three children: a son, Erik, and daughters Emily and Claire.
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