An Interview With Our New President
By Dan Maloney
It’s early fall, and per his custom, Patrick Coulter, a junior finance major and WEXP business manager, is cleaning up the radio station office. WEXP’s studio overlooks McCarthy Stadium and on a clear day commands a distant view of the Philadelphia skyline. Usually, Coulter only tidies up mics, picks up trash other hosts left, and updates the bulletin board. But today, he’s displaying a new picture in the studio. It shows him and Dan Maloney, a junior secondary education and English major, standing with Colleen Hanycz, Ph.D., La Salle’s new President, prior to her inaugural interview with the station.
“It was a really incredible opportunity,” Coulter admitted. “We contacted her in the summer and she was more than willing to sit down and talk with us. She’s really committed to explaining her vision for the school to the students.”
On Coulter’s weekly show, Talking Points, the hosts generally interview students from across campus to gain different perspectives of La Salle. Questions range from what drew them to the school to what activities take up most of their time to settling pop culture arguments.
“It’s conversational,” explained co-host Dan Maloney. “We try to channel NPR’s Terry Gross and provide our listeners with real personal experiences.”
The radio interview provided Hanycz with the perfect venue for both introducing herself and her plans as La Salle’s historic first lay female president. The interview started with introductory remarks about how Hanycz and her family (she is the mother of three children including a La Salle freshman) have adjusted to the move from Canada to Philadelphia. But the interview quickly shifted to her vision for the school. Hanycz expressed her desire to clarify La Salle’s branding and what it contributes to students and the community.
“It isn’t clear what La Salle stands for in the school community,” Hanycz said. “People say it means community, it means access to education, it means service—which are all parts of it, and we need to find what exactly makes La Salle unique from the other schools in the area.”
Hanycz, who recently introduced La Salle to a plan of Program Prioritization to form what she has termed “spires of academic excellence,” admitted that changes are inevitable, but she will communicate with the University community throughout the process.
“You will find you have a President who is deeply committed to transparency,” Hanycz said.
Part of her commitment to transparency comes from her respect and admiration of both the alumni and current students who positively contribute to the school.
“I think our students are truly unique and truly standout with their commitment, their passion, and their support for one another,” Hanycz explained. “And the other part of this is the incredible faculty and staff who support them. I’ve been hearing some amazing things. It’s a pleasure and an honor to serve here.”