Fiorentino named president of West Chester University
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education today selected Christopher Fiorentino to serve as president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, effective January 9. Fiorentino has held the position of interim president at the university since April 2016.
Prior to being named interim president, Fiorentino had served as vice president for external operations at the university since 2013. He previously spent nearly 20 years as dean of WCU's College of Business and Public Affairs. He came to the university in 1983 as an assistant professor of economics. His tenure within the department of economics included four years as chair.
"Fiorentino has been a distinguished member of the WCU family since he first joined the faculty more than 30 years ago," said BOG Chair Cynthia Shapira. "He not only understands the university's mission; he has helped to shape it. The Board has great confidence that he will continue to provide exceptional leadership to the institution into the future."
State System Chancellor Frank Brogan also praised Fiorentino's outstanding service to the university, especially since assuming the role of interim president nine months ago.
"It has been a pleasure working with (Fiorentino) as interim president, and I look forward to doing the same as he assumes the position of president," Brogan said. "I am certain he will continue to play a valuable role, not only in WCU's future, but also in the future of the State System as he works with the other university presidents on behalf of all of the universities and our more than 100,000 students."
After spending 10 years as a member of the WCU faculty, during which time he was voted "Outstanding Business Professor of the Year" by the university's Society for the Advancement of Management, Fiorentino was named dean of the university's College of Business and Public Affairs in 1993. As dean, he helped to secure AACSB International accreditation for the School of Business; developed off-campus academic centers, including the Graduate Center in West Goshen Township and the Philadelphia Center; and worked with faculty and supporters to create the Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center.
He also has represented the university throughout the region, including serving as a member of the West Chester Business Improvement District Board, leading a task force that recommended improvements to Chester County's budgeting and financial management processes; and developing and launching the Center for Community Solutions, which opened in 2015 and connects regional government and non-profit organizations with WCU faculty and staff experts to address community needs.
"I thank the Board for the confidence they have shown in me by appointing me as the 15th president of West Chester University," Fiorentino said. "My years of leadership at WCU have prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities ahead, both at the university and at the State System level.
"WCU is widely respected for both the excellence and breadth of its programs and services and for its access and affordability. I am excited to work with the Council of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, the WCU Foundation and the greater West Chester community to steer our university toward a bright future."
Fiorentino's selection comes at the conclusion of a nationwide search, which began last spring. Barry Dozor, a member of the university's Council of Trustees who chaired the presidential search committee, referred to the new president's long and distinguished tenure at West Chester in praising his selection.
"Fiorentino has provided 33 years of magnificent service to WCU," Dozor said. "I am certain he will continue to provide the same passion, commitment, leadership and vision to the presidency."
"On behalf of the WCU Council of Trustees, I am delighted to share our enthusiasm for the Board of Governors' selection of Chris Fiorentino as our new president," added Council Chair Thomas Fillippo. "He is an accomplished leader who has been a key figure in the university's development and success. The Council is unanimous in its support of him and looks forward to working with him to move WCU forward."
Fiorentino became interim president at WCU following the retirement last March of Greg Weisenstein, who led the university for eight years. Fiorentino earned baccalaureate, master's and doctorate degrees in economics from Temple University.
WCU is the largest university in the State System, with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students. The university was founded in 1871 as the privately owned West Chester Normal School. It was the first of the normal schools to become state owned in 1913. The university currently offers nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
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