Mount president Foley leaving post

College head will end tenure in May

Mount Aloysius College President Tom Foley is leaving the college at the end of this school year to accept a statewide post as president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, the second largest state consortium for private higher education in the country.

In his new role with the AICUP, Foley will work directly with college presidents, trustees, faculty and staff, and will coordinate cross-college administrative and other initiatives to promote efficiency in higher education statewide and even nationwide.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Foley, 64, said he wasn’t looking for the job; the association came to him.

“This is a great opportunity. I have a chance to work on the same issues I cared about at Mount Aloysius but on behalf of 90 colleges and universities spread across the state,” he said.

The association includes Mount Aloysius, Cresson.

“I wasn’t looking for a job, but it came to me. It was too important of a job to turn down,” he said. “These are challenging times for higher education, and I’m happy that my colleagues think I can be of service.”

Foley said he would miss the Mount.

“I will miss the sense of community at Mount Aloysius. We will miss this under-appreciated beautiful part of Pennsylvania — but most of all, we’ll miss these students. As someone once said — they never tried quitting, and they never quit trying,” he said.

Foley wrote a letter to students to inform them of the change.

“I write today to let you know that this will be my last year at Mount Aloysius. Michele and I will be returning to the Harrisburg area where we raised our sons and where I will take up the assignment as president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania,” he wrote. “It has been a wonderful eight years here at Mount Aloysius, and all of you are the biggest reason why.”

Foley will end his tenure at Mount Aloysius at the May graduation, after eight years at the college, according to a press release.

Since coming to Mount Aloysius in 2010, Foley has been a public presence across the region and state, serving on nine regional, statewide and national boards and commissions.

He also testified on higher education issues at both the state and federal levels.

While helping the college achieve an A- S&P Financial Rating and 14 accreditations in multiple disciplines, Foley also led the campaign for six fully-funded major construction projects in seven years that expanded the footprint of the college by more than 35 percent, the release stated.

During Foley’s tenure, the capital campaign for Mount Aloysius raised

$25 million, tripling the college’s previous fund-raising record.

Board Chairman Philip Devorris said that “Watching the transformation of Mount Aloysius during Tom’s eight years gives us much cause for optimism. He leaves Mount Aloysius in sound financial condition, with an up-to-date and welcoming campus, heightened visibility across the commonwealth and great prospects for future generations of Mount Aloysius students.

“As he departs for new challenges, we are mindful that AICUP’s gain will be felt by many here as a real loss. We wish him the very best.”

During his tenure, Foley also served as chairman of the Council of Mercy Presidents. The Sisters of Mercy constitute the largest community of religious women in the Roman Catholic Church, founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831 by Mother Catherine McAuley.

Trustee Emeritus Michael McLanahan, the longest serving trustee in the history of the college, said that Foley’s “connection with students was unparalleled.”

“Whenever you walk that campus with Dr. Foley, you need to allocate extra time. He knows most students by name. He knows their major, where they are from and sometimes where they want to go. He is always for them and always builds them up,” McLanahan said. “The students of the college are going miss both Tom and his wife Michele,” McLanahan said.

As AICUP president, Foley will represent interests of 90 colleges and universities spread across the state.

He is set to take the post in July and will succeed the association’s current president, Don Francis, who has held the position for more than two decades.

Mount Aloysius board officer Ann Benzel said Foley became a vital part of the community.

“While Tom Foley’s contributions to the college are numerous, both he and his wife, Michele, also quickly became a vital part of our community,” she said. “With generosity of spirit, they devoted themselves to the college, to the community and to their friends. They knew the importance of small kindnesses when a neighbor was sick, bringing soup; when a student needed a job, helping them find one; paying respects in death or just picking up the phone. … They have truly inspired many. I am so happy to see them off to great places.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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