Anatomy of an Administrator: John Stachacz on the Past, Future of the Library

Justin Topa, Assistant News Editor

John Stachacz, dean for the Farley Library and Information Technology department, shares his insight into the future of the library and offers advice to current Wilkes University students.

Stachacz, who has served as the dean of the Farley Library since 2008, has also assumed the role of overseeing the Department of Information Technology within the past two years. Stachacz said that there is not a typical day at work involved with overseeing the two, but summed up his daily tasks as “managing”.

Stachacz came to Wilkes after spending time working for Indiana University. He was a tenured member of Indiana University when recruiters for Wilkes University approached him. He cites room for revitalization as a key component in his decision to join the Wilkes administration.

“I’m a builder,” Stachacz said. “I like to take buildings, staffs and collections and refurbish them to bring them back up to where they should be. Wilkes was willing to give me that opportunity.”

While Stachacz said he enjoys working with his current staff of nearly 40, he did see a need to work on the institution that housed them.

“The building wreaks of the seventies,” the dean said. “I looked past that and saw what could be done to this unique building.”

Since joining the administration of Wilkes University, Stachacz oversaw the renovation of the library’s basement and entranceway. The dean said that more renovations could be expected within the next two years, including renovations to the remaining floors of the library after a heating, ventilation and air conditioning revamp expected to be in place by next summer.

“I know one of the main problems students have is with our air conditioning system,” Stachacz said. “It is either too hot or too cold, which is because it is the original system from when the library was built, and we’re going to take care of that hopefully by the summer.”

Stachacz said much of the revitalization he has seen in his six years at Wilkes University is inspired by Wilkes University President, Patrick Leahy.

“There is a whole energetic spirit that this president brings,” said the dean. “I thought this institution was great when I came, but I saw it on the precipice of becoming something better. Dr. Leahy really has pushed the university into that direction.”

When Stachacz is able to get away from work, he travels to visit his daughter, son-in-law and two-year-old grandson, Owen who live in Manhattan. The former president of the Wilkes-Barre Rotary Club, now serves on the board of directors for Eckley Miners’ Village which is an anthracite coal museum located in Freeland, Pa. The museum has ties to Hollywood as it was the site for the 1970’s film “The Molly Maguires” starring Sean Connery. Stachacz, himself, is an avid movie buff when he can find the time.

Stachaz, whose parents lived in Dickson City, Pa., finds living in the Wyoming Valley unexpectedly pleasant.

“As a child, I always said this is the last place in the world I would ever live and I would never say that again,” said Stachacz. “Having come back and seeing how this place has changed over time, it is now one of my favorite places I have ever lived. It has everything I need and just about anything you can ever want.”

Having gone through significant changes, especially in terms of geography, Stachacz has some advice for students.

“Be open to challenges,” said the dean. “Be open to new places and new ideas. Don’t ossify early in life. The person I was when I was a student is different just as the person I was at 30, 40 and 50. You just need to keep yourself open and be prepared for opportunities all the time.”

The Dean of the Farley Library and Information Technology quotes Louis Pasteur to support his advice: “Chance favors the prepared mind”.