Thomas J.Botzman, Ph.D., president of Misericordia University, announced his intent to resign from that post on Jan. 24, effective in June 2020.
Dr. Botzman, an Ohio native, has accepted the president’s position at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio after the university’s six-month nationwide search. Dr. Botzman previously served for 15 years as a member of the faculty at Mount Union, where he held the posts of associate academic dean during the 2003-04 academic year and director of international studies from 1993-1997. He will begin his service as president of Mount Union on July 1, 2020.
“The Mount Union presidency appealed to me because I knew from my 15 years on the faculty how the strong academic and co-curricular programs supported the mission of preparing students for fulfilling lives,” said Botzman. “Further, recent years have witnessed the addition of strong healthcare and engineering programs in addition to the traditional liberal arts, business and pre-professional programs. Mount Union is a strong institution that provides great value to students, families and the local and regional community.”
Matthew Darrah, chair of the presidential search committee for Mount Union, is confident in the choice the board made.
“I have confidence that Dr. Botzman is the right leader for Mount Union at this time in our history,” Darrah said. “He brings with him an array of experience that complements the strategic direction of the University set forth by Dr. Merriman and the Board of Trustees. As a former Mount Union faculty member and administrator, he has a unique understanding of the institution’s strengths and opportunities. I fully expect him to hit the ground running and quickly prove himself an effective leader.”
Botzman said serving as president of Misericordia has been an honor.
“It has been my privilege to serve Misericordia University for the last seven years,” he said. “The university is well positioned to prosper and deliver excellent academic programming in a collaborative and caring environment in the spirit of our founders, the Sisters of Mercy.”
He added that he cherishes the relationships he has formed at Misericordia.
“I cherish the relationships that I have made here with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and the community,” he said. “As I return to my home state to be closer to my family, I want to express my deep appreciation to the Misericordia community for the hospitality they have shared with Vanessa, Gabriela and me. I wish everyone associated with Misericordia University all the best in the years to come.”
Dr. Botzman officially became the 13th president of Misericordia University on July 1, 2013. During his time, the university undertook its largest fundraising campaign in history, Now for Tomorrow, raising over $35 million to date. Now for Tomorrow is funding a large portion of the ongoing construction of the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center, slated to be completed in late spring 2021. It will be the university’s largest academic building.
Other notable accomplishments at Misericordia during the last seven years include increasing the Bourger Women with Children program from 10 to 16 families, with a scheduled increase to 20 families in August 2020.
Misericordia also renovated two academic buildings, Mary and Allen Erwine Hall and Trocaire Hall, and acquired the adjacent Payne Printery building for future use by student life and academic programs.
Several faculty-led initiatives to add new majors were approved during the last seven years, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate degree as well as undergraduate degrees in Statistics, Sonography, Medical and Health Humanities and Patient Navigation. A Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program was undertaken, as well, with over 100 students participating to date.
The number of full-time faculty increased from 111 to 145 while the percentage of courses taught by adjuncts decreased from 40 percent to 30 percent.
Athletics added men’s volleyball and, in 2019, an intercollegiate e-sports program began.
The campus enjoyed increased visibility of academic excellence on campus, ranging from a substantially higher number of student research presentations to the welcoming of external scholars, such as the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Program through the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Employees benefited from expanded professional development and wellness activities.
Information regarding a search to replace Dr. Botzman will be released at a later time after review by Board of Trustees leadership.