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South Side native to assume the helm at Mercyhurst University

For South Williamsport native Dr. Kathleen A. Getz, who was recently named president of Mercyhurst University in Erie, the desire to learn was instilled in her by her parents.

“It (the desire to learn) was reinforced at my elementary school, Immaculate Conception School in Bastress, as well as my high school, South Williamsport Area High School,” Getz added.

She shared that some of her favorite teachers were Ms. Loomis, who taught math, and social studies teacher Bill Byham.

“My career in higher education reflects my love of learning and my deeply-held conviction that widespread access to a good education is needed for us to respond to our world’s most difficult challenges,” she said

When Getz, who is currently dean of the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland, assumes the position at Mercyhurst on July 12, she will be the 13th president and the first woman in nearly 50 years to lead the university.

According to statistics from 2019, only 30 percent of college presidents were women. Getz hopes that what she has accomplished during her career inspires young girls and women who are just starting out.

“As a first-generation college student, I hope that my story might help others realize that the world is full of possibilities,” she said.

“My success is grounded in the love and support of family and friends, as well as lots of optimism and persistence,” she added.

Looking ahead to her new appointment, Getz said that Mercyhurst is a “fine institution, with remarkable faculty and staff and bright, engaged students.”

“As Mercyhurst approaches her centennial celebration in 2025-26, our work will focus on building the foundations of prosperity and justice across the greater Erie region by strengthening our academic programs and creating dynamic partnerships with businesses, government, the Erie Catholic Diocese, non-profits and marginalized groups across the region,” she said.

Getz was formerly dean of the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago and the senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Kogod School of Business at American University. She earned her doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA at Gannon University and a Bachelor of Science from Penn State.

Mercyhurst’s Interim President Joseph G. NeCastro, said that after a national search for the new president, Getz had “emerged as a passionate and accessible leader who we believe is ideally suited to lead Mercyhurst into the future.”

“Dr. Getz brings extensive experience in values-based education, business acumen, interdisciplinary collaboration, new program development, community engagement, innovation and entrepreneurship, fundraising and diversity and inclusion,” he said.

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