The Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Board of Trustees has announced that Robert A. Gervasi, Ph.D. will serve as the University’s 16th president. Gervasi will succeed Dr. Peter Cimbolic, who is retiring after seven years as ODU’s president. Gervasi will begin at Ohio Dominican on June 26, 2017.
Gervasi has spent the last nine years serving as president of Quincy University, a private Catholic Franciscan liberal arts university located in Quincy, Illinois. Quincy has approximately 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students.
During Gervasi’s tenure as president, Quincy experienced growth and improvement in numerous areas, including enrollment. In fall 2016, Quincy welcomed its largest class on record. Over the past nine years, enrollment in the university’s Honors Program has increased from 33 to 202 students. Quincy also became a more diverse campus under Gervasi’s leadership, with approximately 17 percent of the university’s student population made up of minority students, compared to five percent in the region.
“We are tremendously blessed and proud to have an individual of Robert Gervasi’s experience, leadership and enthusiasm serve as Ohio Dominican University’s 16th president,” said Tom Mueller, chair of ODU’s Board of Trustees. “Quincy University has experienced tremendous success and growth under his guidance. As a sitting president, Bob has successfully navigated many of the challenges currently being experienced at small, private Midwestern universities, and we’re excited for him to bring his expertise to Ohio Dominican.”
“The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed that Dr. Gervasi is the ideal person to lead Ohio Dominican at this important time in its history,” said Tom Winters, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “His breadth of experience in higher education and business, his commitment to Catholic values and his proven ability to develop a strategic vision will help advance ODU’s mission and set the university on a path toward sustainable growth and success. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to our search consultant Tom Courtice for his outstanding efforts in guiding us to a successful conclusion in this vitally important search.”
“I am deeply honored and profoundly grateful to be selected to serve as Ohio Dominican University’s next president. More than anything, I am excited and optimistic about ODU’s future,” Gervasi said. “During my visits to campus, I’ve seen firsthand how Ohio Dominican’s founding in the Catholic Dominican tradition more than 100 years ago continues to provide students a solid foundation on which to grow personally, spiritually and professionally. ODU will continue to emphasize and embrace that tradition as it continues to evolve to meet the unique challenges facing it and other institutions of higher education in the 21st century. The road ahead for ODU is bright, and Jen and I are eager to be fully immersed in this wonderful campus environment.”
Before joining Quincy, Gervasi served as president and CEO of the Institute for Study Abroad in Indianapolis, Indiana. There he served more than 3,000 American students annually at 80 universities worldwide. Prior to that, he served as dean of Kentucky Campuses and dean of external programs for McKendree University at its Louisville campus. In these positions, he had responsibility for all executive functions such as strategic planning, faculty development, marketing, fundraising and recruitment.
Gervasi has taught at the University of Louisville, McKendree University, Chatfield College in St. Martin, Ohio, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Xavier University in Cincinnati, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He also lectured as Senior Fulbright Scholar in Classics at the University of Zimbabwe. In addition to his work in higher education, Gervasi has worked in public relations, marketing, and publishing for companies such as Bristol-Myers and Procter and Gamble.
Active in his community, Gervasi currently serves on numerous boards, and in several community service and professional organizations, including on the executive committee of the Council of Independent Colleges; peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; board member for the Great River Economic Development Foundation; and as a member of the Rotary Club of Quincy. He previously served on the executive committee of the Associated Colleges of Illinois.
A lifelong enthusiast of Greek and Roman civilization, Gervasi received his A.B. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Xavier University, an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from The Ohio State University. He also studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, as well as Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University, and he received a certificate in fundraising management from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Gervasi has presented on numerous topics, including ancient Greece, literature, higher education and religion. He can read or speak Spanish, Italian, Greek (ancient and modern), Latin, French and German. An avid runner, he has completed 14 marathons.
Gervasi’s wife, Jen, is a former executive in the home fashion industry and arts organizations. They have three adult daughters, Clare, Irene and Sarah, as well as two grandchildren, Sofia and Francis.