Two Join Council of Trustees

Mar 06, 2020

University President Geraldine Jones welcomes Barry Niccolai ´93 and James W. Harris ´80 to the council at the March 4 meeting.


The first 2020 meeting of the University’s Council of Trustees began with two new members at the table.

Before her report to the Trustees, University President Geraldine Jones welcomed Trustees Barry Niccolai ´93 and James W. Harris ´80.

Niccolai is executive director of Centerville Clinics Inc., a comprehensive community health center with 13 medical locations, 30 healthcare providers and 300 employees. The clinics serve 40,000 patients in Washington, Fayette and Greene counties.

Before joining Centerville Clinics in 2012, Niccolai was employed at Cal U. He held various roles with the Student Association Inc. (SAI) from 1981-2007 and served in the Office of Student Development and Services (now known as Student Affairs) from 1994-2012. His roles included dean of student services, associate vice president for Student Development and Services, and dean for residence and off-campus life.

Harris is a retired administrative law judge. His previous career in state government included service as chief of staff for state Sen. Barry J. Stout and a member of Gov. Robert P. Casey’s Cabinet.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and retired from the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. Harris previously served on the Council of Trustees at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

As she did at the Faculty-Staff Convocation, President Jones gave the trustees updates on Middle States re-accreditation, Cal U’s financial sustainability planning, the Chancellor’s next campus visit on April 28, and the upcoming Strike a Spark Conference. The president also shared information on Cal U’s response to the spread of the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.

“Health officials across the country are monitoring the spread of this new disease around the world and within the United States,” she said. “Here at Cal U, administrators and our Wellness Center staff are keeping abreast of the latest information from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health and other agencies.

“As a campus community, it is our responsibility to look after our health and the well-being of those around us.

The Council of Trustees also unanimously endorsed the President’s request to award an honorary doctorate to Karen Rutledge, who with her husband, Tom ´77, funded the on-campus Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education.

The University will confer the Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, at the May 9 undergraduate Commencement.

In other business:

Dr. Len Colelli, associate provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, reported on the Middle States re-accreditation process along with Dr. Justin Hackett, of the Department of Psychology, and Steve Atkins, director of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Middle State evaluation team will be on campus March 22-25. Their visit will conclude with team chair Dr. Kathryn A. Foster, president of The College of New Jersey, reading the team’s draft report to the community at 9:30 a.m. March 23 in the President’s Conference Room in Old Main Hall.

Despite a 4.97% decrease in spring headcount compared to a year ago, T. David Garcia, vice president for Enrollment Management, reported encouraging news.

Freshman applications received for Fall 2020 are up 25% from a year ago, and first-year admissions are up 4.4% compared to 2010. Also, new transfer and new graduate global online enrollments for Spring 2020 showed increases as well.

Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance, as he did previously to the faculty and staff, updated the Trustees on the Campus Master Plan. The plan includes reducing the campus footprint by demolishing four buildings – about 174,0000 square feet – which could reduce operational costs by $2.5 million to $3 million per year.

The state Department of General Services has agreed to pay $5.2 million for building removals that tentatively will begin in spring 2021 with Azorsky Hall, followed by the north wing of Morgan Hall, Keystone Hall, and then Gallagher Hall.

Thorn added that the Old Main clock tower, damaged by a severe windstorm, will be reinstalled by Commencement.

Dr. Nancy Pinardi, vice president for Student Affairs, introduced Lindsay Mongell of University Conference Services. 

Her presentation focused on how Cal U students are trained to support the various summer events and programs that take place at the Convocation Center.

The students check guests in to their rooms, help manage events, and execute the logistics of camps and conferences.

“We cannot do what do what we do over the summer without our students, who are amazing,” she said.

Christine Kindl, vice president for Communications and Marketing, provided updates on the Cal U Review, the University magazine. A redesigned print product reaches about 58,000 alumni and other members of the University community, while a new version of the online magazine gets an average of 3,000 online views per issue. The publication also is used to fuel the social media efforts and

She called the publication the university’s “premier marketing tool.”

Tony Mauro, vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, reported that his office has raised more than $2.9 million in cash donations, so far in fiscal year 2019-2020, which exceeds the division’s seven-year average.

Throughout the meeting, many trustees and vice presidents lauded student trustee and graduating senior Alex Arnold, a history and parks and recreation management dual major who was serving his final meeting as the recording secretary.

“You are an outstanding student and leader,” said Jim Davis, trustees chair. “You have set the bar quite high for future students.”

The Council of Trustees is scheduled to meet again June 3.