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St. Bonaventure hires Le Moyne’s DePerro as its new president

By Adam Rombel


Photo credit: St. Bonaventure University Twitter page

OLEAN, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University announced Friday that it has selected

Dennis DePerro, dean of the Purcell School of Professional Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, to be its 21st president.

DePerro will start in his new post at St. Bonaventure, located in Olean, on June 1, 2017.

St. Bonaventure said in a news release that it will introduce DePerro to its campus community, at a news conference at 10 a.m. Monday, weather permitting.

Trustees unanimously selected DePerro on Sunday, Nov. 13, after an eight-month search process that involved more than 70 members of the campus community, the release stated.

St. Bonaventure has been led by Andrew Roth, interim president, since Aug. 1, when Sister Margaret Carney, retired. Roth will work closely with DePerro on a transition plan next spring and summer, the school said.

“[DePerro] is a great fit for St. Bonaventure University. His innovative enrollment efforts, allied health program development, and commitment to the liberal arts in a Catholic setting make him an ideal president,” Robert Daugherty, chair of St. Bonaventure’s board of trustees, said in the release. “What was gratifying is that, even though we had a couple of very strong finalists, the Board’s decision was unanimous. That’s how much confidence we have in Dr. DePerro.”

DePerro, 57, was VP for enrollment management at Le Moyne for 18 years before becoming the inaugural dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in 2013. He helped secure a $6.5 million gift last year for the school, renamed the Kathy and John Purcell School of Professional Studies, which specializes in allied health and education offerings. 

St. Bonaventure established a School of Allied Health this fall.

“St. Bonaventure has made an excellent choice by selecting Dr. DePerro as its next president,” said Le Moyne College President Linda LeMura. “I have had the pleasure of working closely with Dennis over the past 13 years. … He has done a tremendous job advancing the mission of our Jesuit college. Le Moyne’s loss is St. Bonaventure’s gain.”

DePerro has spent his entire 35-year career in college administration; for eight years (1982-1990) in admissions and alumni relations at his alma mater Canisius College, and for five years (1990-1995) as dean of admission and financial aid at Marietta College in Ohio before going to Le Moyne in 1995.

A Buffalo native, DePerro was one of Le Moyne’s first two participants in the inaugural Ignatian Colleagues Program, a national program developed to strengthen lay leadership through formation and focus on Jesuit mission and vision. 

During DePerro’s 18 years as VP for enrollment, Le Moyne’s undergraduate enrollment grew from 1,680 to 2,400, while graduate enrollment rose from 390 to 650 over the same period, the release stated.

DePerro has a doctorate in higher education management (2006) from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in educational administration and supervision (1988) from Canisius, and a bachelor’s in biology from Canisius (1981).

St. Bonaventure said it used the recruiting firm Witt-Kiefer to conduct the national search, which began in March with the naming of a 12-person search committee made up of seven trustees and five members of the campus community.

DePerro’s wife, Sherry, is a VP at Cadaret, Grant and Co., a national financial advisory firm headquartered in Syracuse, per the release. They have two sons who are students at Providence College.

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