Message from Dr. Francine G. McNairy

Message from Dr. Francine G. McNairy

Dear University Community,

After nearly forty rewarding years of a professional career in public higher education, I have decided that it is now time for me to retire. Accordingly, I have informed the Chairman of the University’s Council of Trustees and the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education of my desire to step down as Millersville University’s thirteenth president, effective January 30, 2013. It has been an awesome journey, and I have been privileged to have served as your president these last eight years, as provost the previous nine years. Each member of the faculty, staff and student body has contributed to the spark that has ignited my passion to serve as your president.

Millersville University is a very special place. When I arrived as provost, it was faculty and the staff who taught me that you contributed your time, expertise, passion, skills and other resources to this University because you love the institution and respect each other. I quickly learned that you were motivated by the opportunity to continually and collectively build an outstanding, high performing university. Millersville University is exceptional and poised to excel even more in the future because of that collective spirit, commitment and value system.

I will always treasure these years with you and what we have accomplished together:

  • full re-accreditation by Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2020);
  • the anticipated closing of our $85 million capital campaign by the fall of 2012, emphasizing important future directions of student/faculty research and equipment, civic engagement, the arts, scholarships, global opportunities and students’ personal responsibility for health;
  • the near completion of the University’s 20-year facilities master plan (only the library renovation and expansion remain and that construction is currently underway);
  • academic programs of national distinction;
  • a strong admissions and enrollment outlook;
  • a solid financial base and steady fiscal direction, although there might continue to be ups and downs in this area for the next few years;
  • a new institutional identity program that has increased public recognition of the outstanding quality of the University;
  • the establishment of a foundation for transforming the University to enhance its competiveness and quality for the future;
  • the strides we have made in attracting and retaining a faculty and staff of extraordinary quality and diversity;
  • and, most importantly, the opportunities I have had to interact with our amazing students, to watch them grow and mature as productive citizens and potential leaders in their communities.

Because of the challenges we have addressed and the many friendships I have made, both inside and outside the University, this has not been an easy decision; but it is the right decision. The time is now right for new leadership, by someone who will make a long-term commitment to leading the University toward achievement of new aspirational goals.

As is our practice, my announcement gives the University trustees and the Chancellor the needed time to conduct a search for a new president. In the near future, I am sure you will hear more about this process. It also gives me time to begin making plans for this next phase of my life.

In the meantime, I strongly believe that the transition period should not be a time of “running in place.” Our planned transformation is appropriate for our needs, our community and this region. It is important to continue the University’s momentum in this endeavor, thereby assisting the new president in moving forward from a position of strength based on thoughtful deliberation.

I am grateful for the support of the Board of Governors and the University community. Thank you for all that each of you has done to help me grow as a president and for investing your passion in Millersville University. I am also appreciative for the support given by the Council of Trustees. The members of the Millersville University Trustees have been, and are, committed to the University. They are exceptional counselors as well as appropriate risk takers in supporting University decisions, actions and advocacy agendas. So many times, the trustees have led the way within PASSHE on issues of academic freedom, annual legislative meetings, performance funding and fiscal planning. Millersville trustees have set the bar high for leadership that enables the faculty, staff and administration to continually pursue excellence.

I look forward to this, my last, year and our work together to fulfill the promise to our students for an educational opportunity that is second to none.

Francine G. McNairy