Gwynedd Mercy University

Presidential Search

Gwynedd Mercy University Names Deanne H. D’Emilio as its Sixth President 

Gwynedd Valley, Pa. (April 24, 2017)  Following a national search, the Board of Trustees of Gwynedd Mercy University announced the appointment of Deanne Horner D’Emilio, JD as the University’s sixth President. D’Emilio will begin her appointment as President and Professor of Management on August 1, 2017. 

D’Emilio, who received the unanimous consent of Gwynedd Mercy University’s Board of Trustees, will succeed Kathleen Owens, PhD, who will step down on July 31, 2017 after serving as the University’s President for the past 15 years. 

D’Emilio comes to Gwynedd Mercy University from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. As the chief academic officer and second in command to the president, she was responsible for three colleges, four deans, the early learning center, campus preK-8 school, as well as academic affairs, advising, student learning, Honors, General Education, and other key centers and programs. D’Emilio joined Carlow, which is also a Mercy-sponsored institution, in 2013 as Dean of the School of Management and Dean of the Graduate School. 

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairperson Nancy Dunleavy said, “Deanne D’Emilio’s experience as an academic leader who has worked in Mercy institutions for nearly two decades makes her an excellent choice to serve as the next President of Gwynedd Mercy University. She brings outstanding experience with program growth and development, strategic planning and program prioritization, accreditation, and assessment that will benefit the University as it faces the future. Her commitment to the ethos and value of Mercy will ensure that the mission of Gwynedd Mercy University remains strong and vibrant.” 

Prior to arriving at Carlow, D’Emilio spent 15 years in faculty and administrative roles at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pa., another of the 16 Mercy-sponsored institutions of higher education. At Mount Aloysius, D’Emilio developed and chaired the Legal Studies program and served as Associate Academic Dean and Division Chair of Humanities, Social Science, and Professional Studies, the College’s largest academic division. 

 “I am deeply honored and thrilled to be chosen as the sixth President of Gwynedd Mercy University,” said D’Emilio. “Gwynedd Mercy University is known for its academic excellence exemplified by a commitment to an education grounded in the liberal arts with an emphasis on the development of professional competency and an ethic of service in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy. These strong values are exactly what are needed in higher education and in the world today. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and students to build on this rich heritage and I thank the entire Gwynedd Mercy University community for the confidence that they’ve placed in me.” 

D’Emilio succeeds Dr. Owens, who was hired as the University’s first lay President in 2002. “Throughout her years of service, President Owens has consistently put students first—their needs, their successes and their futures,” said Dunleavy when first announcing Dr. Owens’ decision to step down at the end of this academic year. “While emphasizing commitment to our institutional mission and values, she has implemented transformational change that will leave GMercyU a stronger and more vibrant community.” Among those changes was the transition from Gwynedd-Mercy College to Gwynedd Mercy University, along with the addition of new academic and co-curricular programs, new campus locations, and a very successful and growing online/accelerated program for working adults. During Dr. Owens’ tenure, the University’s endowment more than doubled, and a very successful fundraising campaign led to the University’s first named school, the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, as well as new academic building and athletic facilities. “I am confident that the momentum achieved by Kathy Owens over the last 15 years will continue uninterrupted under Deanne’s leadership,” added Dunleavy.

“I am delighted that Deanne has been chosen to lead one of our American Catholic universities and a sister Mercy institution while at the same time, I am sorry that Carlow will lose the extraordinary leadership she has provided since her arrival in 2013,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, President of Carlow University.

D’Emilio holds a B.A. in education from Westminster College in Pa., a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Bowling Green State University, and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and practiced for 11 years prior to pursuing her career in higher education. She is married to Matthew D’Emilio, Director of the University Contracts Office at Carnegie Mellon University, and they have two grown children.