Important Message from the Chair of La Salle’s Board of Trustees

January 11, 2021

Dear Members of the La Salle University Community:

After nearly six years as President of La Salle University, Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., today was named the next president of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Hanycz has formally submitted her letter of resignation to the Board of Trustees and her tenure at La Salle will conclude on June 30, 2021.

The Board of Trustees will form a Presidential Search Committee and additional details related to that process and the Committee’s composition will be forthcoming. The Trustees are committed to broad representation and engaging the full La Salle University community in this important process and we look forward to undertaking this work in the coming months.

On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Dr. Hanycz for her stewardship of La Salle since arriving in July 2015. As the first lay woman to lead La Salle, Dr. Hanycz has served the University during a dynamic and disruptive time in American higher education, which continues to this day. From program prioritization, to the successful “Explorers are Never Lost” brand campaign through Momentum 2022, our 5-year strategic plan launched in 2017, to the intensive work of Project Compass, Dr. Hanycz’s leadership here has been marked by an unwavering commitment to the delivery of a practical education guided by the mission of the Christian Brothers.

Further, Dr. Hanycz led the establishment of a new General Education Core Curriculum based on La Salle’s unique Institutional Learning Outcomes, and after a tuition reset in 2017-2018, her tenure has seen the value of a degree from La Salle University nationally recognized by Forbes, Money Magazine, and U.S. News & World Report. Just last year, Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce ranked the return on investment of a La Salle degree over a graduate’s lifespan in the top-6 percent nationwide. Driven by this value, La Salle has witnessed significant improvements to its freshman retention rate, including this past fall despite the impacts of COVID-19.

Of course, COVID-19 has brought incredible challenges to La Salle – and to all colleges and universities across the Unites States. Since last March, Dr. Hanycz has been deeply engaged in our “Return to Campus” planning and while the news of her departure comes just prior to the spring semester, Dr. Hanycz remains emphatic in her commitment to seeing La Salle’s students safely return to 20th and Olney over these next weeks and successfully hosting Commencement – in person – for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 this May.  The Board of Trustees shares this commitment.

On a personal note, there is no doubt that La Salle University has been a family affair for Dr. Hanycz. Her husband, Peter (M.S. ’19), her son, Erik (’20), and her daughters, Emily (’21) and Claire, have been engaged members of our Explorer family as students, alumni, fans and passionate supporters. We can be confident that the “Blue and Gold” of La Salle will always have a special place in the Hanycz home, wherever that may be.

As we look ahead, I thank you in advance for your continued support and I invite each of you to engage with us in this process as we begin this next chapter in the University’s history.


William Matthews

William W. Matthews
Board of Trustees