Duquesne President to Retire in 2016
Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty announced today at the University's Board of Director's meeting that he will retire on June 30, 2016, when his current term ends.
"I am grateful to the board of directors for the confidence they have shown in me by their expressed desire for me to stay on as president beyond my current contract," Dougherty said. "After giving this invitation the serious reflection it deserves, I have concluded that the timing is right for Duquesne University and for me personally to step down from the presidency at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. I will have served fifteen years by then-a long time for a single president. I believe in term limits because they provide for new perspectives and new vigor. Further, the University's exceptionally strong national position makes 2016 an opportune time for a leadership transition."
Dougherty took office in 2001 and quickly led Duquesne in its first-ever strategic planning process, which became the foundation for unprecedented growth and success.
"The stature of the University has increased dramatically because of Charlie's leadership," said Marie Milie Jones, chair of the Duquesne University board. "He has driven major improvements in every area of the University, and as a result Duquesne is well positioned among the top Catholic universities in the country. These accomplishments give the board great confidence that the future is very bright for Duquesne University and the students we serve."
Most notably, Duquesne's academic reputation strengthened under Dougherty's leadership. Among the various accolades during his tenure are several recognitions by U.S. News and World Report, including Duquesne being named as a top-tier school; rankings for individual programs across all schools of study; and the University being selected as a top school for veterans. During this period of national acclaim, Duquesne has enrolled the largest and most academically talented classes ever while maintaining a retention rate well above the national average.
Commitment to teaching, research and scholarship also increased under Dougherty. Today, there are 24 endowed chairs, up from two in 2001. In addition, interdisciplinary programs and cross-cultural experiences have expanded.
At the same time, the University has continually been recognized for consistent financial stewardship. Noted by Kiplinger's Personal Finance as one of the country's best private educational values, Duquesne also was selected by Washington Monthly as one of the "best bang for the buck universities." In addition, Duquesne is the only Pennsylvania school on the U.S. News and World Report list of most efficiently operated schools, ranking No. 18 among national universities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consistently names the University among its List of Green Power Users for its commitment to sustainability and efforts to support cleaner, renewable energy alternatives.
Dougherty launched the Advancing Our Legacy capital campaign that raised more than $165 million, marking the most successful fundraising effort in Duquesne history. The campaign, which concluded in December 2012, surpassed the $150 million goal a year ahead of schedule. During the campaign, over 400 new endowed funds were created for the support of academic programs, student life initiatives and scholarships.
Envisioning future opportunities, Dougherty has strategically increased Duquesne's footprint to accommodate growth, building the University's first comprehensive recreation center, the Power Center, and a-state-of-the-art residence hall as well as acquiring properties adjacent campus to create room for both administrative and academic purposes. The Genesius Theater is currently under construction and will be completed in July, creating the first stand-alone performing arts venue on Duquesne's campus. Since 2001, the University has invested over $350 million in new facilities and improvements to the campus.
Known for his dedication to Duquesne's Spiritan mission, Dougherty implemented many new programs aimed at showcasing Spiritan values, including the Centers for Spiritan Studies, Catholic Intellectual Tradition and African Studies; a pharmacy in Pittsburgh's Hill District; a wellness center open to the public; and an expanded community law clinic. Duquesne's outreach-grounded in the Spiritan dedication to serving the disadvantaged-has been recognized by the national President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in each of the past eight years-the past five with distinction-and is the only school in Pittsburgh with this designation. Additionally, the University has held the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Community Engagement Classification since 2008, one of only 361 schools nationwide chosen for this honor. During his tenure, community outreach by staff and students grew to over 270,000 volunteer service hours, with an estimated value of $6 million.
"Through purposeful, strategic emphasis and committed leadership, President Dougherty has developed numerous initiatives that have emphasized the University's mission in new and important ways," said the Rev. Jeff Duaime, C.S.Sp., chairman of the Duquesne University Corporation and provincial superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit's United States Province. "The centers, institutes, programs and endowments focused on our core Spiritan values that began under his leadership will leave a lasting impact long after his presidency has concluded."
In a communication sent to the campus community on Friday, Dougherty expressed his gratitude to the faculty and staff of the University.
"I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of you, the dedicated faculty and staff of Duquesne University. Together, we have brought the University to a position of national prominence. Our mission is vibrant, alive and woven into every aspect of life at Duquesne. Our academic, student life and campus ministry programs provide a rich and deeply meaningful experience for the young men and women who choose to become a part of the Duquesne community. Every day your actions reveal to me the truth in the statement, 'We serve God by serving students.'
There will undoubtedly be moments of reflection over the next 16 months, but I assure you that my main focus will be to bring my full energy to bear on my responsibilities as president for the remainder of my time in office. I look forward to the coming months with great excitement about the future of this remarkable institution."
The board of directors will immediately begin planning a national search for Duquesne's next president.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.