PRESIDENT TO STEP DOWN
Monsignor William A. Kerr, president of La Roche College, has informed the College’s Board of Trustees that he plans to relinquish his post next summer, which will mark the end of his second six-year term as president.
“After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have decided not to seek a third term as president when my current term expires this summer. It has been my privilege to serve God’s people in this capacity for 12 years. I believe that, during my tenure, the College has grown in many ways, even as it has faced challenges, and I have been able to play a small part in building a stronger and more vibrant La Roche College,” Kerr said. “It has been an honor to have worked with the Sisters of Divine Providence, the Board of Trustees, and many talented and dedicated faculty and staff members over the years. Together we have accomplished a great deal for La Roche College, but the time has come for a change, both for me and for the College. For me, it is an opportunity to pursue to new directions and challenges, and for the College, it is an opportunity to bring in new leadership to help guide the College into the future.”
Kerr added that he was making his decision known at this time so that the Board of Trustees would have ample time to identify a successor and carry out an orderly transition.
Kerr’s tenure as president has been marked by the academic development of the College, which was reflected most recently when the reorganization of the College’s academic structure was implemented in July of this year. The reorganization established three schools -- the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Professions and the School of Graduate Studies – that replaced the previous system of seven academic divisions.
“This new structure is the culmination of many initiatives in the academic area and it represents the next stage in La Roche College’s growth and development. The schools will permit greater synergy among academic disciplines, foster interdisciplinary initiatives, and enable the College to maintain the quality of existing programs while encouraging the pursuit of new academic directions that are consistent with its mission and values,” Kerr said.
Other examples of significant growth and progress in the academic area since Kerr’s appointment in 1992 include a 50 percent increase in the number of full-time faculty; an increase in faculty salaries from the 30th percentile of AAUP Category IIA to the 50th percentile; the establishment of six new academic majors – computer science, criminal justice, facility management, information technology, marketing, and real estate; the development of associate degree programs in radiological technology and nursing; the establishment of an endowed professorship in religious studies; and the establishment of affiliation programs with the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, and a study abroad program with the American University of Rome.
The campus has also seen an expansion of its physical facilities during Kerr’s tenure, including the completion of the 1,200-seat Kerr Fitness and Sports Center and the refurbishment of the athletic fields; an increase in the number of resident students from approximately 400 to almost 700 with the construction of new student residences that offer “suite style” student accommodations; and construction of a new classroom building with state of the art “smart classroom” technology, new computer labs, faculty offices, and an expanded bookstore.
“These enhancements in teaching technology were made with the students in mind, and La Roche College students now enjoy the benefits of these improvements in more than 50 percent of the classrooms on campus, a situation that is equaled by few, if any, institutions of higher education in the region,” Kerr said.