President Mellon to leave lasting and transformative legacy, says Board Chair

October 16, 2020

Dear Members of the Carlow University Community,

It has been said, that in the end, a person is only known by the impact she has had on others. That being the case, President Suzanne Mellon is assured of a lasting and transformative legacy.

I know every member of the Board of Trustees joins me in thanking President Mellon for her remarkable service as the 10th President of Carlow University. Since 2013, she has led the University through a time of unprecedented change in higher education and, more recently, through the unchartered territory of the current pandemic, always keeping Carlow’s mission and the welfare of our students, faculty, and staff as her highest priorities.

President Mellon has maintained an unwavering fidelity to the traditions and values of our founders, having built a strong, values-based culture nurtured by a steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. She has been a tireless advocate for the University in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region and at the state and federal levels. With the completion of “The Carlow Commitment,” the University’s strategic plan, she has created a roadmap for the next five years.

I have had the pleasure of working closely with President Mellon these past several years as Chair of the Board and would like to take this opportunity to share what I see as the highlights of her tenure as Carlow’s President. As a Carlow alumna, I am grateful for her bold leadership, the many positive initiatives she has led and her continued commitment to our Mercy mission represented by many accomplishments and recognitions during her tenure, including but not limited to, the following:

  • 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

I know you will all join me in congratulating President Mellon on all she has done to serve our University and all its many and diverse stakeholders. If you know her as I do, you know she will continue to work tirelessly to accomplish all she can before her term ends on June 30, 2021. Please continue to give her your strong support as we navigate this momentous time.

I am in the process of assembling the Search Committee for the recruitment and selection of our University’s next president. The committee will be comprised of trustees and representatives of the cabinet, faculty, staff, alumni, and student body. I will be communicating again shortly to announce the members of the committee as well as timeline expectations for the process ahead.

We have partnered with Academic Search to assist us in this effort. Academic Search was founded in 1976 and is widely recognized as a leader in the higher education search world. Its principles are former higher education leaders who entrust their knowledge, wisdom, and experience to the service of institutions like ours during times of transition.

While higher education will continue to be challenged by declining demographics, advances in technology, and changing business models, Carlow has a strong plan for the future that includes several critical pivots, including a significant investment in new programs, a new strategy for online learning, robust marketing partnerships, and a focus on the needs of the student of 2025. I have confidence in our plan and our future. Working as a community, and with your support, I know we will find a president as wise and discerning as President Mellon, and who will be equally committed to advancing “The Carlow Commitment” and our mission of building “a more just and merciful world.”


Dorothy A. Davis, JD

Chair, Board of Trustees

Class of 1978 

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