West Chester University President Madeleine Wing Adler announced today, Thursday, May 3, that she will be stepping down as University president at the end of the University’s next fiscal year, on June 30, 2008.The announcement, surely one that has been in preparation for some time, comes less than two months before the contract that governs University professors throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) expires. The announcement also comes as members AFSCME – the University’s custodial and clerical union – picketed outside of Sykes, protesting current management. State Senator Andy Dinniman spoke on their behalf.
Adler, the 13th president of WCU, and the first woman to hold the position, has been in office since 1992 and has had the third longest tenure in West Chester University history. She is currently the longest serving university president in the state system.
“There comes a time,” Adler told the University students, faculty, staff and administration that filled SOMPAC’s new Performing Arts Theater, “when you realize that your principal goals have been accomplished and that the University is best served by providing new opportunities for leadership.”
Bernard Carrozza, Chairman of the Council of Trustees, said that he will work with PASSHE’s Chancellor, Judy Hample, to organize a search committee to search for Adler’s successor. The committee is expected to be named some time in the fall.
“In her years as president, Dr. Adler has transformed WCU into one of the best comprehensive universities in the nation,” Hample said. “She is a visionary, dynamic, inspirational and intellectual leader, as well as a fabulous person, who is passionately committed to excellence in learning.”
During Adler’s tenure at WCU, enrollment has increased by 7.2 percent, from 11,959 in 1992 to 12,882 today. The number of freshman applicants has nearly doubled from 6,700 in 1992 to more than 12,000 today. In the same time, average SAT scores of incoming students have risen more than 150 points, from 940 to 1096.
As WCU has received less funding from the state, the University’s annual economic impact on the region has grown more than four-fold, from $60 million in 1993 to $256 million in 2006.
When Adler addressed students for the first time in September 1992, she said, “I plan to ask a university-wide committee to study the feasibility of creating America’s first ‘Green University.'”
Nearly 15 years later, WCU, in lieu of a quarter million dollar grant from Harrisburg, is implementing use of geothermal energy to heat and cool the old Swope Music Building.
Adler will remain in office until next June, and The Quad will monitor the selection of her replacement and bring you the latest updates in the fall.