Colleen Hanycz (CNS/courtesy La Salle University)
By Taazakhabar News Bureau
La Salle University a private Roman Catholic institution in Philadelphia founded by the Brothers of the Christian Schools created history this week when they announced Colleen N. Hanycz as the first female president in the school’s 152-year history. Hanycz succeeds Brother Michael J. McGinniss, the most recent in a line of 28 Christian Brothers to lead the school.
Brother Michael stepped down from the presidency after 15 years of service last May. James P. Gallagher is serving as interim president until Hanycz’s term begins.
When she begins her tenure in July, she will be the 29th President .
Hanycz is currently head of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, a Catholic college founded by the Ursuline Sisters and the only all-women college in Canada.
La Salle, on the other hand, was an all-male college for its first century, although now women make up almost two-thirds of the student body. This will not be Hanycz’s first encounter with the Christian Brothers. As a high school student in Toronto, she attended Senator O’Connor College High School, run by the congregation.
Hanycz earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, her law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a postgraduate law degree and a doctorate from Canada’s premier law school – Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.
After a period as an employment litigator, she returned to Osgoode, where she was assistant dean and associate professor of law, specializing in dispute resolution. She was there from 2003 to 2008.
Hanycz was the second lay president in the history of Brescia when she was named to the post in July 2008. During her tenure, the school saw an increase in its national profile and a dramatic growth in enrollment and retention of students, faculty and staff.
Brescia is much smaller than La Salle and London is much smaller than Philadelphia.
But the Hanycz who was born and spent most of her life in Toronto, looks forward to return to a large urban center as multicultural and diverse as Philadelphia – another similar city. Hanycz’s family includes husband, Peter, and three children: Erik, a college student; Emily, a high school sophomore; and Claire, a fourth-grader.