Gannon University's Board of Trustees honored Keith Taylor, Ph.D., with President Emeritus conferral.
Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. was honored by the university’s Board of Trustees on Friday, May 19 during a formal conferral of the distinction President Emeritus.
The formal conferral recognized the Board’s unanimous vote that took place on Feb. 17, 2023, giving Taylor the title President Emeritus of Gannon University effective July 1, 2023. Taylor is the first president in Gannon’s nearly 100-year history to be granted this status.
President Emeritus status is granted to a retiring university president who has provided “distinguished service” to the university, which is defined as service that goes beyond the normal duties and responsibilities for the appointment, and which has had extraordinary impact on the university and/or the broader community. It recognizes that the individual demonstrated exceptional commitment and contributions to the university, exemplifying the highest standards of personal and professional integrity, civic responsibility, vision and leadership.
This distinction honored Taylor’s accomplishments throughout his twelve years of service as President of Gannon University. During this time, he established a dynamic strategic vision while integrating planning and operations that empowered the community to achieve great success across all dimensions of their work to transform lives.
He reorganized Gannon’s academic structure to a more integrated three-college model; created a growing satellite campus in Ruskin, Fla.; added new strategic academic programs to meet current and future market needs; and broadened the community focus to a global perspective. The Barker Globalization Institute expanded worldview through study abroad, T.R.A.V.E.L., G.I.F.T. and Alternative Spring Break Service Trips for students and employees; developed semester exchange agreements with 11 international partner universities; and diversified campus with a notable 20 percent global student population.
He reaffirmed Gannon’s commitment to social justice and Catholic social teaching with ardent support for the Center for Social Concerns and Mission and Ministry efforts; and instituted the Erie-Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability and Our West Bayfront programs, which represent a series of intentional partnerships with government agencies, businesses and community organizations to revitalize the neighborhoods surrounding Gannon’s campus. He volunteered regularly within those neighborhoods and served as a member of several local, regional and state boards.
He made building Gannon’s future a priority by fulfilling its Vision 2020 comprehensive campaign that culminated in 2016 with more than $67 million raised to support a spectrum of critical needs; in particular, scholarship funds to ensure student access to the Gannon learning experience as well as academic and support programs to enhance the quality of that learning and life experience.
During his tenure, the university experienced a record-breaking enrollment of more than 4,700 students, and maintained positive financial health, achieving its first bond rating upgrade and growing the endowment to a $83.5 million value in 2020-2021. Programs to enhance access for underrepresented populations were created as well as new athletic teams such as acrobatics and tumbling, competitive cheer and women’s wrestling. Employment also reached a record currently as the university is several years into initiatives on holistic well-being and improving the workplace experience for employees.
More than $135 million in major capital improvements have been completed during the past decade, including the opening of Gannon’s second campus in Ruskin, Fla. The number of campus facilities in Erie and Ruskin grew to more than 60 and includes the Alstadt Environmental Center as well as modernization of the Recreation and Wellness Center; Nash Library and Learning Commons; Beyer Hall and the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel. Additionally, new facilities were purchased and constructed such as the Center for Business Ingenuity, Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge, South Hall, the Ruskin Academic Building and more.
Taylor announced his plans to step down as president in August 2022, and shared his last day in office will be June 30, 2023.