Gwynedd Mercy University Names New Vice President for Academic Affairs

Gwynedd Mercy University has named Jeffrey R. Breese, PhD, as its next Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Breese will take over from Mary Sortino, PsyD, who is serving in the role on an interim basis. The previous vice president, Mary Van Brunt, PhD, took the position as President of Spring Hill College in January 2023 after serving as GMercyU’s Provost and VP for Academic Affairs since 2018. Breese will assume his new role on May 22.

With nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, Breese has served in a number of roles, the most recent being Founding Provost & VP for Academic Affairs at the University of Mount Union in Ohio. Prior to this role, Breese served as VP for Academic Affairs & Dean of the University, and Professor of Sociology at Mount Union.

Before joining the University of Mount Union, Breese served as Provost and VP for Academic Affairs and a tenured Professor of Sociology at Dominican University in Illinois. He has served at a number of other institutions across the nation, including Manchester University, Rockhurst University, Marymount University, University of Tampa, and Saint Mary’s College.

“The Gwynedd Mercy University community is delighted to welcome such an accomplished and innovative leader to our team at this particular time in our history,” said Gwynedd Mercy University President Deanne H. D’Emilio, JD. “Jeff will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the University as we approach our 75th Anniversary and move forward in achieving our vision of becoming the Catholic University leader in professional and healthcare education.”

Since starting at the University of Mount Union in 2017, Breese has been instrumental in achieving several campus initiatives, such as the development and implementation of a new academic structure and the development and launch of a new “Center for Faculty Development.” Breese is looking forward to bringing his expertise to GMercyU.

“I am thrilled to join GMercyU’s mission-centered culture and continuing to build on the University’s momentum,” said Dr. Breese. “My experience encouraging a culture of innovation, creative program delivery, entrepreneurship, and new program development will fit in nicely with GMercyU’s plans for the future.”

Breese is joining the Gwynedd Mercy University at an exciting time marked by many new initiatives and campus transformations, including the planned construction of the new Frances M. Maguire Healthcare Innovation Center and Campus, renovations to residence halls, and the renovation and naming of the Frank O. Genuardi Legends Baseball and Softball Fields, among others. In the past several years, the University has launched several new market-driven academic programs, including a bachelor’s and master’s in Public Health, new cybersecurity and artificial intelligence concentrations within its Computer Information Science degree, a new graduate certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and a new Digital Communications program, among others. The University will launch a new Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology in Fall 2024. Dr. Breese will play an important role in the development of additional programs and enhancements to the student experience.

Breese earned his PhD from the University of Akron. He also holds a master’s degree in Sociology from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Youngstown State University.