David J. Livingston, PhD, Vice President for Advancement at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, has been appointed as the 9th President of Lourdes University. After conducting a search which garnered candidates from 24 states and Canada, Dr. Livingston was selected unanimously by Lourdes University, its sponsor The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, and the institution’s Board of Trustees. He will begin his role as President on July 1, with an inauguration planned during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Dr. Livingston has been in his current position with Mercyhurst University since 2008, and has served the institution in various capacities since 1997. Prior to joining the Mercyhurst community, he taught religious studies at both the high school and college level in Illinois and Tennessee.
“Though we had a talented group of candidates in our presidential search, Dr. Livingston’s experience in education truly resonated with our community,” shares Sr. Mary Jon Wagoner, Congregational Minister for the Sisters of St. Francis. “His understanding of both the traditional and non-traditional student population, and accomplishments in institutional growth are what ultimately made him the best fit as Lourdes’ new President.”
Understanding the student
One of Dr. Livingston’s greatest gifts is his deep understanding of the needs of various student populations. As an adult learner in a doctoral program while also raising a young family, Dr. Livingston lived the life of a non-traditional student, and recognizes their needs and the strong demand on their time. Like Lourdes University, Mercyhurst’s student population is similar in both size and breadth. In 2012, Mercyhurst welcomed approximately 795 new undergraduates, including 680 traditional-age freshmen as well as 145 new adult undergraduates and 170 graduate students.
On an undergraduate level, as Department Chair of Mercyhurst’s Department of Religious Studies, Dr. Livingston worked to develop a study abroad program and took students on 4 trips to England, Ireland, and Italy. The program was such a great success, that today it sees more than 100 students a year studying abroad and has resulted in Mercyhurst opening an international campus in Dungarvan, Ireland.
Growing an institution
Dr. Livingston also possesses a keen understanding of what it takes to expand an institution, in a caring and strategic way. As an academic leader, he implemented a program which reduced the required number of faculty teaching assignments for those engaged in research. Additionally, he developed a program for faculty student research and student research assistants.
In his role as Vice President for Advancement, Dr. Livingston raised funds for Mercyhurst’s new $10.5 million dollar academic building, and oversaw the building’s construction from inception to conclusion last summer. He has managed the institution’s current capital campaign, and raised more the $33 million (2-years ahead of schedule) of the $50 million goal. Dr. Livingston also successfully increased alumni giving from 15% to 23% and increased average yearly contributions to the University by more than 80%.
Education and accomplishments
Dr. Livingston holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augustana College, a master’s degree in theology from Loyola University, and a PhD in theology from Vanderbilt University. He serves on the Board of Corporators at UPMC Hamot and on the Board of Directors as Advancement Committee Chair for the Asbury Woods Nature Center. A nature and sports enthusiast, Dr. Livingston enjoys spending his free time outdoors - either gardening, kayaking, or running.
Joining him as part of the Lourdes community, will be his wife Joan who works as a family therapist, and their children Matt, who is finishing his first year of law school at Columbia University, and Sara, who will graduate from Dennison this spring and will join Chicago’s Teach for America.