David J. Livingston, Ph.D., vice president for advancement at Mercyhurst University, has been named the new president of Lourdes University. Thomas Geiger Jr., chair of the Lourdes University Board of Trustees, made the official announcement at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the university’s campus in Sylvania, Ohio.
Livingston, whose tenure spans 15 years at Mercyhurst, becomes the ninth president of Lourdes, effective July 1. Founded by the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania in 1958, Lourdes is a coeducational liberal arts institution of 2,600 students known for its quality academic programs and personalized attention afforded its students.
“It is an honor to accept the presidency of Lourdes University,” Livingston said. “It is a marvelous institution offering an excellent education and equips its students with the skills that allow them to serve the world in leadership roles in a variety of fields. The excitement I feel for the opportunity to lead the Lourdes community is mixed with a sadness at the need to say goodbye to the Mercyhurst and Erie communities. The students and colleagues I have been privileged to know at Mercyhurst have taught me much more than I have been able to teach them. I am so grateful to President (Thomas J.) Gamble for all the opportunities that he has offered me over the years and for being an excellent friend and mentor.”
Livingston expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue connecting with Mercyhurst graduates through his role as vice president for advancement.
“In that capacity, I have been able to travel to see some of these very same students as they have moved on to success in their careers,” he said. “The Mercyhurst alumni network has been generous to me in so many ways, and I will miss meeting with them and watching how strongly the values of a Mercyhurst education continue to influence their lives. Mercyhurst is a wonderful community and I have been fortunate to be able to call so many caring and brilliant people who work here my friends.”
Livingston has been affiliated with Mercyhurst since 1997 when he joined the religious studies department. He quickly emerged as a leader, not only within his department but among the university’s faculty. In 2003, he was elected president of the Faculty Senate, a position he held until 2005; and from 2004 to 2006, he chaired the religious studies department.
In 2007, he joined the university’s administration as associate vice president for advancement and in less than a year became vice president for advancement. In that role, he is credited with making strategic and far-reaching gains, among them increasing the annual average giving to the university by more than 80 percent. He raised $32 million of a $50 million dollar capital campaign goal two years ahead of schedule and acted as project manager for a $10.5 million academic building completed in the summer of 2012.
Livingston earned his bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Augustana College, his master’s in theology from Loyola University of Chicago and his doctoral degree in theology from Vanderbilt University.
Locally, he serves on the board of directors of Asbury Woods Nature Center and is a member of the board of corporators at UPMC Hamot. He was a soccer and cross country coach at Villa Maria Elementary School for five years and volunteered with many Mercyhurst students at Habitat for Humanity and the Emmaus Soup Kitchen.
In responding to the announcement, Mercyhurst University President Thomas J. Gamble, Ph.D., said, “David Livingston joins a long line of educators who have moved on from important roles in the faculty and administration at Mercyhurst University into their own presidencies. We are very proud of him and the others who have gone on to do great things for private higher education in the United States. Dave Livingston is a wonderful teacher, productive scholar, effective administrator and a committed champion of institutional mission. Lourdes University is very fortunate to have Dave as their leader. I speak for the entire Mercyhurst University family when I wish Dave and his family many blessings and great success in their new life.”
Joining Livingston at Lourdes are 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 join Chicago’s Teach for America.
As a result of a recent administrative reorganization, Msgr. David Rubino, dean of the Walker School of Business and Communications, will lead the advancement function as part of the office of external affairs.