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Mount St. Mary’s University Names Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D., as 27th President

Donna Klinger

Jerry Joyce seated

The Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees today announces that Gerard “Jerry” J. Joyce, Ph.D., will be the 27th president in the university’s 215-year history. Joyce, a 32-year higher education veteran, currently serves as executive vice president of DeSales University. He will join the Mount effective July 1, 2024.

gerard-joyce-in-text.jpgIn announcing the board’s unanimous choice that followed a nationwide search, Board Chair Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, said that Joyce will be an excellent leader for the next chapter in the history of America’s oldest independent Catholic university. She noted that trustees praised Joyce’s collaborative nature, as evidenced by the many partnerships he has established with healthcare systems, and strategic thinking prowess that enabled DeSales to achieve the largest first-year classes for two consecutive years in an increasingly challenging higher education landscape.

“The Mount is preparing to open the School of Health Professions, further expand our growing interdisciplinary and STEM programs, continue to grow undergraduate enrollment and develop new online learning programs,” McDermott said. “With his dedication to academic distinction, drive for mission-oriented expansion, and commitment to the values inherent in Catholic education, Jerry is prepared to lead the university into the future.”

In expressing his feelings about being named president of the Mount, Joyce stated: “I am deeply honored and excited to be chosen as the 27th president of Mount St. Mary’s University and to build upon the extraordinary legacy of President Trainor. Under his leadership, the university has evolved to meet the changing needs of our students. The School of Health Professions is a testament to Mount St. Mary’s commitment to forward-thinking education and responsiveness to societal needs. As we stand at this exciting juncture, I am committed to leveraging our storied past to propel us into a future where Mount St. Mary’s continues to flourish as an institution that nurtures innovation, community and excellence.”

“I eagerly anticipate leading the university in this transformative era, ensuring that we remain well-poised to offer an education that is both rooted in the Catholic Liberal Arts tradition and attuned to the evolving landscape of higher education,” he said. “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Board of Trustees for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this esteemed institution.”

As the first non-clergy president in DeSales history, Joyce was instrumental in strategic planning and developing new programs. During his tenure as interim president, DeSales experienced tremendous enrollment growth and enhanced its academic portfolio with revenue-generating academic programs.

Under Joyce’s guidance as executive vice president, DeSales raised and redistributed funds to offer more than $40 million in scholarships and grants for students and developed its first branding platform. He also managed the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the Mount, DeSales successfully brought students back to campus in the fall of 2020 and experienced enrollment growth.

Joyce's previous roles have included serving as vice president for student life and dean of enrollment management. He has implemented innovative student recruitment strategies, developed character-building programs, and established international education initiatives. As an adjunct instructor, he taught courses on education philosophy, ethics, leadership and decision-making.

joyces_2-in-text.jpgJoyce holds a doctorate in education administration and policy studies from The Catholic University of America. He earned his masters degree in education from Kutztown University and his bachelor’s degree in finance from DeSales University. He served as chair of the Allentown Diocese Board of Education for eight years.

Joyce and his wife, Erin, a nurse practitioner, have five children: Isabella, 22; Liam, 20; Aidan, 17; Amelia, 14; and Adeline, 7. The family includes a dog named Shamrock.

About the Presidential Search

Joyce’s appointment follows a national search that began in March 2023 after Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., who has served as president since 2016, announced his retirement from the university. Trainor will leave the university in the summer of 2024.

The Presidential Search Committee consisted of trustees, alumni and faculty, staff and student representatives, chaired by Richard Miller, C’74, and Robert Dondero, C’74. The Board of Trustees acted on the committee’s recommendation and voted on December 9.

About Mount St. Mary’s University

Mount St. Mary’s University is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in the Catoctin Mountains near historic Emmitsburg, Maryland, with a satellite campus in Frederick, Maryland’s second-largest city. The university offers more than 80 majors, minors, concentrations and special programs for traditional undergraduate students, and 20-plus adult undergraduate and graduate level programs as well as 24 NCAA Division I athletic teams. Construction has begun on a School of Health Professions that will include a graduate-level physician assistant program that anticipates seating its first cohort in January 2025 and a master’s of applied behavior analysis program that graduated its first cohort in May 2023. Over the past six years, the university has expanded and renovated learning and living spaces, including Knott Academic Center, Coad Science Building, residential cottages, apartments and residence halls for first-year students. The Mount includes Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, the largest and second oldest in the United States, and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, an idyllic shrine for spiritual reflection located on the hill above the university that attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year.

Donna Klinger