On July 1, 2015, Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., became La Salle University’s 29th President—the first layperson and first woman to serve as President in La Salle’s 153-year history.
Throughout her accomplished career as an attorney, professor, and administrator, President 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.
Since becoming President of La Salle, Hanycz has dedicated herself to positioning the University toward a future of growth, impact, and sustainability—a true 21st-century renaissance. Being an engaged and compassionate leader in the spirit of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, she has implemented several historic initiatives that will, among many other things: drive enrollment and retention rates, broaden the scope of accessibility to a transformative Lasallian education, restructure academic programs and departments, and create a more contemporary campus experience for students.
During her tenure at La Salle thus far, President Hanycz responsibly oversaw a tuition freeze before framing out a strategic plan for rolling back tuition rates. Under An Affordable Path for All, effective Fall 2017, undergraduate tuition will reset from $40,400 to $28,800—a 29 percent reduction that returns tuition close to 2008 levels. This bold, mission-aligned initiative has placed La Salle University at the forefront of a trend in higher education today that addresses escalating costs. It expands access to La Salle for even more students across a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
President Hanycz has championed several other initiatives that are key to La Salle’s renaissance. Strategic Program Prioritization (SPP) is a sweeping and comprehensive plan that will promote unity between programs, resources, and the University’s mission. SPP encompasses many developments, from institutional learning outcomes to a new academic core curriculum and the De La Salle Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.
Under President Hanycz’s vision and leadership, La Salle launched a refreshed brand campaign, as well as a new tagline, “Explorers are Never Lost,” in September 2016. The University’s national and multi-modal marketing campaign, highlighting La Salle’s commitment to supporting students as they discover, grow, and take charge of their own paths, resonated deeply with prospective students and their families. 2016 also saw numerous campus enhancements, from the opening of Founders’ Hall, a state-of-the-art building that houses the School of Business, to Hansen Quad, a beautiful green space on campus complete with lounge chairs, hammocks, and outdoor lighting, where students can gather and relax in community.
Hanycz previously served in a Presidential role as Principal of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, Canada. During her seven-year tenure at Brescia, a Catholic women’s college, she implemented groundbreaking strategic plans that helped to raise the college’s national profile, increase enrollment, and develop innovative academic programs, among others. 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.
A native of Toronto, Hanycz attended Senator O’Connor College High School, which was then led by the De La Salle Brothers of the Christian Schools. 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 transformative 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 LL.M. 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 Blakie, LLP in Toronto, she became Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall in 2003. Throughout her tenure at 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 also served as a government appointee on 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.