September 29, 2008

Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., To Be Installed As Philadelphia University’s 11th President Sunday, Oct. 5


Contact: Debbie Goldberg of Philadelphia University, +1-215-951- 2718, [email protected]

A campus-wide day of service and an academic symposium will mark a new era inPhiladelphiaUniversity's history as part of the inaugural activities

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., will be officially installed as Philadelphia University's 11th president on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Spinelli, 53,a well-known expert on entrepreneurship and an experienced university administrator, assumed the presidency Sept. 1, 2007, succeeding James P. Gallagher, Ph.D., who served in the office for 23 years.

"Dr. Spinelli's achievements in both the business world and in academia put him at the forefront of a new kind of college president - one with the experience, background, vision and in-depth understanding of diverse, complex organizations that will benefit our students and help advance Philadelphia University," said Elizabeth Gemmill, chair of the Board of Trustees. "His leadership and boundless energy are nothing less than extraordinary, and qualities we have come to respect and admire."

"I am honored to be formally installed as president of this great university," Spinelli said. "In the past year, I have been impressed by the spirit of innovation and creativity on this campus, the openness to collaboration between disciplines and the strong focus on educating future leaders in their fields. I am excited by what we can achieve together in the future."

Spinelli's background both as an entrepreneur and an academic makes him a perfect fit for Philadelphia University and its mission as the model professional university for the 21st century. Since its start as a small textiles school in 1884, the University has grown into a diverse institution offering more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs, many of them professionally oriented majors with a strong grounding in the liberal arts. More than half the students are in design-related programs.

The Oct. 5 installation ceremony will include a procession of faculty, staff, students and alumni from Philadelphia University, as well as presidents and dignitaries from a broad range of colleges and universities. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter will give remarks. Villanova President Peter Donohue and Ben Franklin Technology Partners President RoseAnn Rosenthal will offer greetings from, respectively, the academic and business communities.

At the installation ceremony, the Faculty and Staff Choir will perform the world premier of a new work by Donald St. Pierre, with text by Bliss Carman, titled Lord of My Heart's Elation.

The ceremony will cap off a five-day schedule of inauguration activities, which will kick off Wednesday, Oct. 1 with the University's first campus-wide Day of Service. More than 1,300 students, faculty and staff will fan out through the city and region and give back to the community by performing a wide array of community service activities.

These will include creating a sustainable space at the East Falls Septa station, led by Landscape Architecture students; teaching and reading at local elementary schools; hosting sports clinics at Philadelphia University's boat house and other locations; weeding and planting at the Philadelphia Zoo and Fairmount Park; knitting and crocheting items for babies being treated at Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania; registering voters in East Falls and Germantown; and sorting career clothing for women entering the workforce. Interior Design students will design special rooms for three sick children in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For more information about Day of Service activities, go to http://

On Thursday, Oct. 2, award-winning author and journalist Stephen Dubner, who wrote the popular book Freakonomics,will present the keynote lecture at an academic symposium starting 9:30 a.m. in the Kanbar Campus Center Performance Space. Dubner, known for asking probing yet ordinary-seeming questions as 'why do drug dealers live with their moms' and 'how did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime,' will adapt the concepts in his book to address higher education issues. At 1 p.m., a panel made up of faculty members and students will respond to Dubner's lecture.

Also on Oct. 2, former President Gallagher and former trustee and benefactor Harold Ronson will be installed, respectively, as President Emeritus and Trustee Emeritus. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. in the Gallagher Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, alumni, students, parents, families and friends will come together on campus to celebrate Homecoming and Family Day, a fun-filled day of activities and athletic events.

Philadelphia University, founded in 1884, is a private university with 3,300 full- and part-time students enrolled in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. As part of its core mission, the University focuses on professionally oriented programs that prepare students for successful careers, with a strong foundation in the liberal arts and an orientation toward interdisciplinary cooperation. Philadelphia University includes Schools of Architecture, Business Administration, Design and Media, Engineering and Textiles, Liberal Arts, and Science and Health.


Debbie Goldberg

Director of Media Relations


[email protected]

SOURCE Philadelphia University

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