Carlow University President Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, to Retire at End of 2020-21 Academic Year

Carlow University President Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, will retire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. Announcement was made at the Friday, October 16, Board of Trustees meeting.

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Drew Wilson, Director, Media Relations October 16, 2020
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Announced at Friday, October 16, Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Pittsburgh, Pa.   President Suzanne K. Mellon has announced that she will retire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The official announcement was made at the Carlow University Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, October 16, immediately followed by communications to the Carlow community.

Academic excellence; meeting the needs of the 21st Century workforce; partnership development; and advancing the University’s commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion have been the central focus of her presidency.

More recently, she has worked with faculty to strengthen the integration of liberal arts into the University curriculum and with professional programs.

 Throughout her tenure she has been a strong advocate of the Catholic Mercy mission of the University’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy, which calls for the creation of a just and merciful world.

President Mellon came to Carlow University in 2013 as its 10th president and oversaw the University’s first comprehensive campaign, which funded the development of the University Commons building and scholarships for students. She led the development and implementation of two strategic plans, created a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory space for the College of Health and Wellness, transformed St. Joseph’s Hall into a modern athletic and fitness center, added nine athletic teams, grew the University’s endowment by 100%.

 “The entire Carlow University Board of Trustees shares my deep gratitude to President Mellon for her strong leadership over the past eight years,” said Board Chair Dorothy Davis, Esq., a Carlow alumna. “Her presidency has been transformative for the University, particularly regarding her commitment to academic excellence and innovative approaches to regional partnerships.

“Her tenure saw the completion of several critical capital projects that greatly enhanced student and campus life; a strategic shift to align Carlow’s programs to workforce demand; an increased investment in social justice initiatives, such as the expansion of the University’s Social Justice Institutes; the creation of the Atkins Center for Ethics; and a plan for the University’s lower campus development through a public private partnership, all of which reflect President Mellon’s dedication to the values of our founders.

“Her exemplary leadership during the ongoing pandemic has consistently ensured that the University’s mission and Mercy heritage are advanced. She has positioned Carlow for a strong future, overseeing a visionary five-year strategic plan, which will undoubtedly ensure a smooth transition for the next President” Davis added.

President Mellon said she is grateful for her years of service at the University.

“It has been a tremendous honor for me to serve as President of Carlow University these past eight years and to be the steward of the mission of this great University and its founders, the Sisters of Mercy,” President Mellon said.

 “It is, and has always been for me, about the students and ensuring that we provide a values-based excellent education, access to those who have the goal of higher education, and prepare them for a world where they lead and, in turn, commit to serving their community,” she said in her communication to the board and community.

 “Pittsburgh is a great region and is fortunate in having strong working relationships between the academic, public, and private sectors. These relationships enable partnerships that benefit both students and employers. It has been gratifying to be in a region where leaders work together in collaborative ways. It benefits the universities and the regional workforce we fuel.”

 President Mellon has been very active regionally serving on numerous boards, including the Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Board of Cleveland, the Economy League Board of the Allegheny Conference and as current chair of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education. She is also an officer on the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania Board, and on the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities Board nationally.

 The board is partnering with Academic Search, an executive search firm that specializes in higher education, to assist with the search for a new president.  ###
Editor’s Note:  A bio of President Mellon and the highlights of her tenure as president of Carlow University follow this release. View the “Fast Facts” sheet about Carlow University 

About Carlow University  

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929, Carlow’s curricula and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in two colleges: The College of Health and Wellness and the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Health and Wellness includes the departments of Nursing, Respiratory Care, Healthcare Data Analytics, Health Management, and graduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology and the Physician Assistant programs. Graduate programs in Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy will soon be added.

Carlow University also believes in the education and growth of students both inside and outside the classroom, where they can join student government, clubs, and academic honorary societies where they can develop skills in judgment, leadership, analysis, decision-making, and communication. For student-athletes, Carlow’s 14 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

Bio for Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD

President, Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA

Suzanne K. Mellon is the 10th president of Carlow University, a private liberal arts university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Mellon has held a variety of higher education executive positions holds the rank of professor.  Her research has been on cancer survivorship.

President Mellon is a visionary leader and her presidency at Carlow has been marked by a strong emphasis on academic excellence and alignment with an evolving workforce.  She has led the University through several capital campaigns, and most recently completed a new strategic plan, The Carlow Commitment.  Her goal is to assure the continuation of Carlow’s Catholic Mercy mission of providing a diverse community of students with transformational educational opportunities, preparing them to be leaders in the creation of a more just and merciful world. Dr. Mellon’s vision for the future includes expanding programs that serve the needs of the community, amplifying the University’s historic commitment to social justice, while providing students with a pathway for success in the 21st century workforce.

She currently serves as vice chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and a member of the board of directors of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the Pennsylvania Economy League. She is the current chair of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education Presidents’ Council, a member of the Executive Committee of the River States Conference’s Council of Presidents, and an ex officio member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she is a member of the International Women’s Forum Western Pennsylvania Chapter, the Conference for Mercy Higher Education Presidents Council, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Higher Education Working Group. She also serves as a site visit team chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Mellon has earned many awards, including being named a Most Admired CEOs & Top Executives (2009), and Women of Influence (2019) by the Pittsburgh Business Times’, and one of Oakland Catholic High School’s Leading Ladies. She has received the Sy Gottlieb Award, and from the University of Detroit Mercy, the Phenomenal Women’s Ashley Grey Legacy Award, and the Integrity Matters Award from the College of Health Professions Honors Council.

Dr. Mellon holds a BSN from the University of Michigan, an MS from Ohio State University, and a PhD from Wayne State University. She also holds a certification from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.


2013 – 2021

  • The development and implementation of two strategic plans to drive the vision of the University
  • A highly successful Middle States Decennial Review
  • Expansion of academic programs of excellence that build on Carlow’s strengths and the addition of new specialty accreditations
  • Investments in adult and graduate education, including certificate programs and new graduate level degree programs with a strong focus on the needs of the workforce
  • Student outcomes that have shown strong growth in retention, student success, and unparalleled career outcomes
  • Successful completion of the first comprehensive campaign for the University
  • Signature capital projects that have transformed the University campus and student life including University Commons, the St. Joseph Fitness Center, and a state-of-the-art Celtic Simulation Center for Innovative Learning
  • An endowment that has grown by 100%
  • Creation of signature institutes and centers that exemplify our mission in the Social Justice Institutes, the Atkins Center for Ethics, the President’s Council on Equity and Inclusion, and the President’s Advisory Council of Community Leaders
  • A strong focus on partnerships and innovation with other institutions of higher education, such as the nursing program at St. Vincent College, as well as numerous organizations and businesses
  • Creation of new pipelines of traditional student enrollment through new athletic teams and attractive 3-year degree programs
  • The vision and courage to create a plan to develop the University’s property on Fifth Avenue to provide state-of-the-art academic and laboratory space through an innovative public private partnership
  • Active service on many local, regional, state, and federal boards promoting our University and advocating for the private higher education sector
  • Recognition by the Pittsburgh Business Times as a CEO of the Year and a Woman of Influence
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