DelVal President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan to retire Aug. 31, 2016

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan, Delaware Valley University president.

Jul 24, 2015

Delaware Valley University President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan announced today his plans to retire from his full-time career in higher education and to step down as president of DelVal in 13 months, effective Aug. 31, 2016.

In a letter to the university community, Dr. Brosnan said, “As I begin my ninth year at DelVal, it has been and continues to be my honor and privilege to serve as president. During this time, we have accomplished extraordinary things together. The University is a strong institution with an exciting future. As I reach another milestone in my life, it is clear that this will be the right time for me to devote more time to my family, including my wife, Carla, my mother, Mary, who is now in her 90s, my children and my grandchildren.”

During his presidency, Dr. Brosnan has led DelVal through a broad-based strategic planning process, which resulted in many significant outcomes, including the institution achieving university status, which was announced April 8, 2015. DelVal was also reaffirmed for its accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2013. Graduate studies at DelVal have expanded to include six master’s degree programs and a new doctoral program in higher education, which began in fall 2014. Under his leadership, DelVal received provisional approval for a physician assistant program. The University anticipates matriculating its first class in July 2019.

Board chair Susan B. Ward ’80, M.D. praised Brosnan’s leadership by stating, “Dr. Brosnan’s vision and collaborative leadership style have led DelVal to become a university and a stronger institution; now we are well-positioned to serve undergraduate and graduate students who want to tackle the most important issues of our time. The Board and I are grateful for his continued leadership and his dedication to DelVal and each of our students.”

Dr. Brosnan’s leadership and expertise in the area of philanthropy have enabled DelVal to more than double the size of its endowment. The institution’s Realizing the Vision campaign, which will conclude in 2016, has surpassed its $50 million goal. As part of the largest comprehensive campaign in the institution’s history, Dr. Brosnan secured the lead gift of more than $30 million from the Warwick Foundation, which included the 398-acre Gemmill property.

Despite significant declines in the number of college-age students, DelVal’s new student, undergraduate enrollment was at a 17-year high last year; similar results are expected in 2016. Enrollment partnerships have been formed and strengthened with many community colleges. Dr. Brosnan has also enhanced DelVal’s study abroad opportunities through stronger relationships with universities in Poland, the United Kingdom and Belgium. In February 2015, the University entered into a partnership with Pearl S. Buck International to recruit degree-seeking undergraduate students from Asia. The agreement will help the University expand its international student population.

While graduate programs have expanded, undergraduate programs have also improved significantly. A recent $1 million gift from Kate Littlefield, a director of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, has led to the creation of the Institute for Biotechnology and Hydroponics at the University. A student research course has been developed and has received annual funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Majors in counseling psychology and sustainable agriculture, along with concentrations in areas such as forensic science have strengthened and diversified the academic offerings. Experience360, DelVal’s experiential learning program, is the defining characteristic of DelVal’s undergraduate programs, consistent with the institution’s founding principle of “science with practice.”

The Life Sciences Building, DelVal’s new signature academic building, opened for classes in January 2014. The new Lipinski Field, given by trustee Robert Lipinski ’80, allowed DelVal to add men’s and women’s lacrosse. Dr. Brosnan also secured a lead gift enabling the construction of new tennis courts and the addition of men’s and women’s varsity tennis.

Dr. Brosnan led DelVal’s efforts to create the Precarious Alliance, a series of symposia, which brings together experts to discuss issues of how human networks and environmental systems interact. The topics of global water supply, food, and energy have been debated and explored by industry leaders, nonprofit and government officials, and concerned citizens. The next symposium, “Land and the American Dream,” will take place on campus Oct.14-16. These programs reflect DelVal’s commitment as a “neutral convener” on issues, a pattern, which was established by the founder Dr. Joseph Krauskopf.

Dr. Brosnan’s presidency has centered on improving the student experience at DelVal. He indicated that he “is most proud” of the work that has been done to foster a climate of inclusiveness. The Committee on Race, Culture and Diversity shifted the culture on campus and engaged the community around the issues of diversity and inclusion. Based on the teachings and writings of Dr. Krauskopf, six core values for DelVal were officially adopted in 2010. DelVal’s commitment to military students has been a key aspect of student life. The establishment of the Military Scholars for America program, the creation of the Janet Manion Military and Veterans Center and the University’s participation in the Federal Yellow Ribbon Program reflect DelVal’s commitment to serving military members, veterans and their families.

DelVal is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, moving into the “Top 20 Colleges in the North” in 2015, while also being added to the “Best Colleges in the Northeast” list by the Princeton Review. Reflecting its commitment to real-world experience for students through E360, DelVal was also ranked number one in the country for internship participation by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Brosnan is an active community leader and serves on a number of boards. He currently serves as: government relations liaison for The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania; chair of the Executive Committee for The Middle Atlantic Conference; vice president of the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce; and vice president of The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County. He also serves as a member of: The Bucks County Conservation District Board, the Bucks County Economic Development Advisory Board, the Pearl S. Buck International Board of Trustees and the Teach2Serve Board. He is a past member of the I Have a Dream Foundation and a past chair of the national organization Co-Evolution 2050. In 2014, he received one of Rotary International’s highest honors, the Four-Way Test Award. He is a supporter of CB Cares,  a member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and a former commissioner on the American Council for Education’s Commission on Lifelong Learning.

As of July 2016, Dr. Brosnan’s 46-year career has included a combined 14 years as president of Delaware Valley University and Belmont Abbey College. He has also served in senior leadership roles at Teachers College, Columbia University, St. Bonaventure University, and the State University of New York at Potsdam. Dr. Brosnan earned his bachelor’s degree from Marist College and his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Albany. After Aug. 31, 2016, Dr. Brosnan will consult part-time for the University and will teach in the doctoral program in higher education.

Later in summer 2015, a national search will begin for DelVal’s next president.