Duquesne University President Ken Gormley has named Dr. Leanna Fenneberg as the University’s next senior vice president of student life, effective June 3, 2024. Fenneberg was chosen after a national search that yielded dozens of highly qualified applicants.

She will succeed Dr. Douglas Frizzell, the current senior vice president of student life at Duquesne, who has served in his position since 2015, when he retires on June 1, 2024.

“Leanna Fenneberg emerged as an outstanding candidate from a truly talented national pool of applicants. Leanna impressed the entire search with her extensive knowledge, excellent strategic sense and practical ability in the many aspects of creating an invigorating student learning environment,” said Gormley. “Her achievements in promoting co-curricular student success and strengthening inclusive environments align nicely with the goals of Duquesne’s strategic plan and the values of our Catholic and Spiritan heritage and mission. On top of everything else, Leanna is an energetic and enthusiastic leader who will enhance our leadership team and serve as an inspiration to students across campus.”

Fenneberg is acting vice provost for student life at Creighton University, a Catholic Jesuit research institution in Omaha, NE. Prior to that, she was vice president for student affairs at Rider University, a private university in Lawrenceville, NJ, from 2017 to 2023. In these roles, Fenneberg served on the president’s cabinet and provided broad oversight of student campus life.

Fenneberg started her career at Saint Louis University, a leading Catholic university located in St. Louis, MO. During her 18 years there, she worked and oversaw various areas of student affairs, culminating in serving for ten years as the assistant vice president of student development.

Throughout her career in student affairs, Fenneberg has led numerous functional areas including campus life, counseling, Greek life, recreation programs, housing and auxiliary services, residence life, student conduct, service and civic engagement, the student health center, first-year programs, diversity, equity and inclusion, grant-funded student support programs, disability services, career services, academic support, academic advising and student success coaching.

“I could not be more excited to join the Duquesne community,” says Fenneberg. “My career in private higher education, much of which has been in Catholic, mission-driven institutional settings, has led me to a deep appreciation for a holistic education that forms leaders who will advance social justice and make a positive impact on the world. This passion is integrally aligned with Duquesne’s Catholic and Spiritan identity. I am eager to engage in partnerships across campus that will continue to uplift students as the ‘polestar of all decision making.’”

Fenneberg recently served on the Board of Directors for NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) where she was the national director of 37 professional Knowledge Communities. She also has served on the executive board for the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA). As a nationally visible authority in her field, she has an impressive record of peer-reviewed articles and professional presentations, and has taught in higher education administration programs at the master’s and doctoral levels.

Fenneberg holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University, a master’s of education in student personnel services from the University of South Carolina, and a bachelor’s of arts in broadcast & electronic communication and psychology from Marquette University. She completed her doctoral study on the spiritual development of college students.  She and her husband are the parents of two boys.

“My thanks to Vice President Gabe Welsch, who chaired the University’s search committee, and the talented faculty and staff who served on that committee and identified an extraordinary pool of candidates that led to this impressive selection,” said Gormley.  

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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November 27, 2023