La Salle President to leave; three administrators to follow

La Salle University
 From Left to Right: Colleen Hanycz, Joe Meade, Dawn Soufleris, Kevin E. Dolan. Four administrators are leaving the University; meanwhile, the Board has created an executive vice president role.

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

This story is developing.

The recent announcement that La Salle President Colleen Hanycz would leave La Salle University for Xavier University left many in the community with questions; now, one source has revealed that departing with Hanycz are Chief of Staff Joe Meade, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel Kevin E. Dolan and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Dawn Soufleris. 

During an opening meeting Jan. 14, it was announced to faculty that the three administrators would be leaving the University for new roles. Dolan and Meade are to leave in February; Soufleris is to leave in April.

Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Government and Community Affairs Joe Meade is set to assume the role of vice president of community relations and government affairs at Comcast Spectator. Meade will begin his new role leading the company’s strategy and program development efforts Feb. 22; according to the Philadelphia Tribune, his main objective at Comcast Spectator will be to grow the game of hockey within the greater Philadelphia area. In his current position at the University, Meade’s responsibilities include personnel operations, financial management and coordination with senior leadership, as well as lobbying for public funding opportunities for the University. In 2018, Meade was named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” after which he told University Communications, “I am appreciative in being given the opportunity to serve in such a significant capacity under the leadership of President Hanycz. Momentum is upon us, and I am thrilled to be a part of the remarkable La Salle community.” Meade’s position at La Salle will not be filled at this time.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Dawn Soufleris will assume a new role in New Jersey at Montclair State University April 5, 2021. In her new role, she will oversee 22 departments with nearly 300 employees and some 700 student workers. Soufleris joined La Salle in 2016 after serving at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as associate vice president for student affairs. Since 2016, Soufleris has re-envisioned Public Safety and Career Services and developed a week-long student orientation program for incoming freshmen. She is also the institution’s deputy Title IX director. Soufleris told Montclair State University, “Providing students with support, positive engagement, and ample opportunities to find their niche and to shine have been my central tenets throughout my career in higher education…To be able to continue this work as a member of the Red Hawk family is such an honor…I look forward to meeting students, the SDCL staff and the campus community and to learning more about the exceptional educational experience Montclair provides to its students.” To date, the University has appointed former Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing Angela Polec to the role of vice president of enrollment, marketing and communications, effective Feb. 8. 

La Salle University
Pictured above is new Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications Angela Polec.

Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel Kevin Dolan is set to leave in February for a role as partner of a law firm, Mullen Coughlin, in which he will handle data privacy. In his current role at La Salle, Dolan oversees legal issues and strategic initiatives at the University. He also serves as secretary to the Board of Trustees. Before joining La Salle in 2015, Dolan worked in the private law sector as partner at the Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith firm in its Data Privacy and Network Security practice group. Effective Feb. 8, former Associate General Counsel Sean Corgan will oversee both of Dolan’s current roles. 

La Salle University
Pictured above is Sean Corgan.

Also coming to La Salle under the role of executive vice president is Tim O’Shaughnessy, ‘85, who is a graduate of the business school. Before joining La Salle, O’Shaughnessy served as the chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 2012-2019. According to one source, O’Shaughnessy was hired in October without the faculty’s knowledge or consultation. The Faculty Senate heard about the appointment on Feb. 1 and were not familiar with the appointee. The executive vice presidency did not exist prior to O’Shaughnessy’s appointment.

La Salle University
Pictured above is Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85.

With the President and three of her executive cabinet members on their way out, the task to find new employees, including the chief of staff, may be difficult, given the University’s financial struggles. Over the summer, the University laid off 53 employees (nearly 7 percent of the full-time workforce) and cut salaries or hours for 48 others. Another 51 vacant staff positions were eliminated. Hanycz told the Philadelphia Inquirer in June that, amid the pandemic, La Salle faced millions in losses and additional expenses. Hanycz added that institutions like La Salle (“lightly endowed” and “highly dependent on tuition, room and board”) would face “a dire financial outlook” if students would not return to school in the fall. Following these statements, students would carry out the fall semester remotely and some, but not all, would return to campus for the spring semester.

While the news was announced to faculty Jan. 14, the University has not yet notified the student body of these departures; one source claimed that the University is to send students an email detailing the departures in the near future. The University did publicly welcome those filling new roles on its website Feb. 2.

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