ALLIANCE, Ohio – Dr. Thomas Botzman, president of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania, has been named the 13th president of the University of Mount Union, announced Allen Green, chair of the Mount Union Board of Trustees and Matthew Darrah, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. The appointment concludes a six-month nationwide search.
Botzman, who has served in his current capacity at Misericordia since 2013, will begin his official duties as president of Mount Union on July 1, 2020. At that time, he and his wife, Vanessa, will return to the Mount Union community they called home during his tenure as a faculty member and administrator from 1989 to 2004. He will succeed Dr. W. Richard Merriman, Jr., who will conclude his service as president at the close of the 2019-2020 academic year.
“I have confidence that Dr. Botzman is the right leader for Mount Union at this time in our history,” said Darrah. “He brings with him an array of experience that complements the strategic direction of the University set forth by Dr. Merriman and the Board of Trustees. As a former Mount Union faculty member and administrator, he has a unique understanding of the institution’s strengths and opportunities. I fully expect him to hit the ground running and quickly prove himself an effective leader.”
“The Mount Union presidency appealed to me because I knew from my 15 years on the faculty how the strong academic and co-curricular programs supported the mission of preparing students for fulfilling lives,” said Botzman. “Further, recent years have witnessed the addition of strong healthcare and engineering programs in addition to the traditional liberal arts, business and pre-professional programs. Mount Union is a strong institution that provides great value to students, families and the local and regional community.”
During his service at Misericordia, a private institution of about 2,500 students, Botzman led many successful initiatives. Under his leadership, the institution undertook its largest fundraising campaign in history, raising more than $35 million to date. Misericordia also renovated two academic buildings and acquired an adjacent property for future use by student life and academic programs.
With regard to program offerings, several faculty-led initiatives to add relevant majors were approved during the last seven years, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate degree as well as undergraduate degrees in statistics, sonography, medical and health humanities and patient navigation. In addition, men’s volleyball was added to the institution’s athletic offerings, and, in 2019, an intercollegiate esports program began.
A native of Stow, Ohio, Botzman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He went on to attend Kent State University, where he earned both a Master of Arts degree in economics and a doctoral degree in business administration.
During his initial tenure at Mount Union, Botzman served as a faculty member and was named the Great Teacher in 1998. He also directed international studies from 1993 to 1997 and held the role of associate academic dean during the 2003-2004 academic year. He was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, teaching there four times from 1992 to 1996. He was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2002.
“It was a pleasant surprise to find that not only were many of my treasured faculty and staff colleagues still at Mount Union, but that they have been joined by many of my former students as faculty, staff, trustees, and active alumni,” said Botzman. “Vanessa and I felt so at home when we were at Mount Union and look forward to coming back to the Purple Raiders. We were pleased when our daughter, Gabriela Botzman '17, chose to study elementary education at Mount Union and we are thrilled to follow her lead back to Alliance.”
Before being named president of Misericordia, Botzman served St. Mary’s College of Maryland from 2004 to 2013 as the vice president for business and finance and professor of economics. During his time at St. Mary’s, he was also the interim vice president for development and secretary to the Board of Trustees during the 2009-2010 academic year. Botzman worked in private industry prior to working in higher education and is the inventor of 12 U.S. patents.
Botzman currently serves on the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, the Back Mountain Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Wyoming Valley and the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. He is also serving in leadership roles for the Middle Atlantic Conference and the Conference for Mercy Higher Education.
“The successful conclusion of this search, resulting in the appointment of Dr. Botzman, would not have been possible without the dedication of the Presidential Search Committee Chair Matt Darrah and the trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students who so diligently served as members,” said Green. “As a result of their hard work, I am confident that the institution will continue to thrive with Dr. Botzman at the helm.”