Alliance, Ohio – The University of Mount Union Board of Trustees has announced that Robert A. Gervasi, Ph.D. will serve as the interim president during the 2022-2023 Academic Year. Gervasi will succeed Dr. Thomas J. Botzman, who announced his retirement last month. Gervasi is expected to begin this role at Mount Union on June 27, 2022.
Gervasi has extensive experience in all facets of running a university, having most recently spent four years as president of Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, and the nine years prior at the helm of Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.
At Ohio Dominican, a private institution founded in the Catholic tradition, Gervasi oversaw the college’s 10-year reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and its first-ever public bond refinancing to help stabilize the school’s finances. In addition, during his tenure, Ohio Dominican stabilized a declining enrollment and began a focus on building outside relationships with corporate and civic partners.
During his time at Quincy, a private Catholic Franciscan university, the institution experienced growth and improvement in numerous areas, including enrollment and diversity. In addition, Quincy expanded its academic profile and community outreach, strengthened its fundraising and enhanced campus life.
“We are pleased to have found an interim president who has both breadth and depth in terms of his understanding of the higher education environment,” said Matthew Darrah, chair of Mount Union’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Gervasi has a proven track record and has successfully navigated many of the challenges currently being experienced at our institution as well as other small, private Midwestern universities.”
"I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead the University of Mount Union during this important transition,” said Gervasi. “Mount Union has a storied history of excellence in academics, athletics and community service. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students in advancing the University's mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship."
Before serving as the president of both Ohio Dominican and Quincy, Gervasi served as president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Study Abroad in Indianapolis, Indiana; dean of Kentucky campuses and dean of external programs for McKendree University in Louisville, Kentucky; and dean of academic and student affairs at Chatfield College in St. Martin, Ohio. He has also served as executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities, in addition to working in public relations, marketing and publishing for companies such as Bristol-Myers and Procter and Gamble.
Gervasi has taught at Ohio Dominican University, Quincy University, the University of Louisville, McKendree University, Chatfield College, Miami University (Ohio), Xavier University, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University. He also lectured as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Classics at the University of Zimbabwe.
Active professionally, Gervasi currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Association. He has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges, a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a member of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities and a board member of the Associated Colleges of Illinois. He is FEMA-certified in multi-hazard emergency planning for Higher Education and has participated in both the Commission on Lifelong Learning of the American Council on Education and the NAFSA and Forum on Education Abroad. Throughout the years, he has also been involved civically in the communities in which he has lived and worked.
Gervasi received an A.B. in classics (summa cum laude) from Xavier University, an MBA in marketing from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in classics from The Ohio State University. He also studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece; Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University; and the Universita del Sacro Cuore in Rome, Italy; in addition to receiving a certificate in fundraising management from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Gervasi has presented on numerous topics, including ancient Greece, literature, higher education and religion. He can read or speak Spanish, Italian, Greek (ancient and modern), Latin, French and German. An avid runner, he has completed 14 marathons.
As Gervasi arrives on campus to serve as interim president, the institution will begin a comprehensive search for Mount Union’s 14th president. The University will work with an outside consultant to conduct the search, which is expected to begin mid-summer.
“The Board of Trustees has full confidence in Dr. Gervasi’s ability to lead Mount Union, position the next president for success, and ensure the University’s continued excellence for years to come,” said Darrah. “We look forward to welcoming him to the Mount Union family and working alongside him in the coming year.”