Scranton Vice President goes Colonel

Devoni Novak, Assistant News Editor

The last of the three candidates, Scranton University’s vice president Dr. Patrick Leahy, came to Wilkes last week to meet with students, faculty and staff. At the student forum, Leahy led off by declaring what attracted him to the presidential position at Wilkes along with what he feels he can do if given the position.

“I’m going to be perfectly candid with you,” Leahy said. “I sense that there is some great work that happens here and I’m not sure that it’s properly appreciated; I think there’s a real opportunity to promote what we do here better than we have.”

Leahy feels he can be helpful in making Wilkes a better known school, which in his opinion will add to the Universities credibility. After meeting with various members of the faculty and staff, Leahy noticed that many had a strong interest in improving the university. To Leahy this attitude is a positive; he said it’s great that so many are “hungry for improvement.”

Wilkes’ sense of family is another aspect of the university that Leahy appreciates. While searching for a school that has the atmosphere he found at Wilkes, Leahy was surprised to find it in his present hometown. The more Leahy learns about Wilkes the more enthusiasm he gains for the possibilities.

“To be able to find a place where I think that there’s untapped potential where I think they really care about improving and where I think they really care about each other, I’ve been traveling far and wide to find a university like that to be a part of,” Leahy said.

Thrilled to be one of three finalists, Leahy believes he is a unique candidate that has distinctive experiences to bring to Wilkes. His involvement both inside and outside the system of higher education is a valuable skill Leahy feels he can use to overcome the university’s challenges.

In addition to the university’s values, Leahy was also impressed with the location of the campus. Although he would like to help improve the downtown area, Leahy likes how the campus has a river view and proximity to the town’s shops. Leahy feels there is great potential to improve the attractiveness of the campus and if chosen to fill the job, he plans to further develop the quality of campus.

When asked what he believes is most important to receiving an outstanding education, Leahy placed the responsibility in the laps of the faculty. In Leahy’s opinion, it is the student’s interaction with the faculty that is the single most important aspect of their education, although he understands it takes a little more than that to make an outstanding institution.

“A university is only as good as the people who work there, go to school there, and dedicate their lives there,” Leahy said.

After the last of the three candidates made a presence on campus, students had many opinions on each of the applicants. Although many felt all three had something unique to bring to Wilkes, most favored Gandre and Leahy.

Before hearing Dr. Leahy, junior John Sweeney was leaning toward Gandre. However, after meeting Leahy, he was unsure which of the two he liked more.

“They were both very impressive,” Sweeney said. “What I like about Gandre is his approach to student interaction, I think that’s something important because the university is about the students; Dr. Leahy is also very impressive with his fundraising abilities and he still seemed to have good intentions with student interaction.”

Christa Filipkowski said she is unsure which of the candidates will get the position as she feels all of them have strong qualities. The online survey at,, can be filled out by students and will be considered in choosing the next president.