Presidential Search 2022

Maria College announces Dr. Lynn Ortale as its next president
Experienced leader in Catholic higher education brings student-focused mission to new position

Lynn Ortale headshotMaria College and its Board of Trustees proudly announce the appointment of Lynn Ortale, Ph.D. as its sixth president to begin her role on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Ortale comes to Maria College with more than three decades of experience in higher education administration in the context of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. For the past 13 years, she has served as Vice President for Student Life at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph.  She is also an adjunct faculty in DeSales University’s higher education administration graduate program in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

A mission-driven and student-focused leader, Dr. Ortale has demonstrated success in the personal and academic development of students at small colleges that offer career-relevant experiences, similar to Maria. Her career has been a commitment to assisting underserved and diverse populations while enhancing student life and co-curricular opportunities to strengthen the learning communities she led. 

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the Board of Trustees as the next president of Maria College,” said President-elect Ortale. “I am committed to Catholic education due to the transformative impact mission-grounded learning communities have on the personal and academic development of students and the impact the commitment to serving the underserved has on our students, our community, and our world. Together we move forward with great excitement to engage in Maria’s next chapter of excellence and innovation.”  

The Maria College Board of Trustees along with the search committee selected Dr. Ortale following a comprehensive national search through consulting firm Academic Search. With input from faculty, staff and students, the committee developed a leadership profile comprised of characteristics and traits that would help lead the College forward. This process brought three finalists to campus last month to meet and interview with the campus community. Dr. Ortale will replace Dr. Thomas Gamble, who has served as president for six years before announcing his retirement plans for the end of June 2022.

“The Board and the Committee have selected Dr. Lynn Ortale from a strong and experienced pool of applicants,” said Board Chairperson Mary Jo LaPosta, Ph.D. “Ultimately, Dr. Ortale proved to be the strongest candidate based on her extensive experience in faith-based higher education, and her commitment to the success of the students and faculty of those communities. Her ‘mission-in-action’ approach to leadership directly aligns with the core values of Maria College to provide career-relevant opportunity education to all that may benefit. We believe that Dr. Ortale is the most qualified candidate to lead Maria College into the future that has been so dramatically re-shaped by the pandemic. We are confident she will increase opportunities for students while animating our Mercy mission and values.”

Some of Dr. Ortale’s notable career accomplishments include:

  • As Vice President for Student Life at Chestnut Hill, she provided leadership and vision for the Division of Student Life and Athletics where she led strategic planning and assessment, managed student behavioral and psychological interventions and guided the facilities team through ever-evolving COVID-19 guidance and protocols.
  • As Dean of Students at Chestnut Hill, she enhanced existing infrastructure to support student academic success and personal development.
  • As Assistant Vice President for Campus Life at Saint Joseph’s University, she provided leadership for Campus Life including the expansion of student leadership opportunities while increasing student engagement.

In addition to her administrative and teaching experience, Dr. Ortale is an active and national professional speaker, having delivered more than 60 presentations to various national associations on myriad topics such as student suicide prevention, leadership development, neurodiversity and learning differences.

Additionally, she is an accreditation evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), a role that brought her to Maria College’s campus back in 2019.

“Although I could not have predicted that I would become president of Maria College three years later, there was something very special about the Maria community which has always stayed with me,” said Dr. Ortale. “I am inspired by the talent, tenacity, and thoughtfulness of Maria’s students and alumni. The academic and personal success of its students is nurtured by the unwavering commitment and support of the attentive faculty and staff. Maria College transforms lives and the world through Mercy education.”