Last updated: February 19. 2013 7:26PM - 685 Views

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DALLAS TWP. – The new president of Misericordia University will arrive with advanced degrees, a background in finance and something unusual among college administrators – a dozen U.S. patents.

Thomas J. Botzman will become the 13th president in the history of Misericordia on July 1, succeeding Michael A. MacDowell, who has led the school since July 1998.

The 53-year-old Akron, Ohio, native was offered the position this week after a unanimous vote by the school's board of trustees.

Botzman is vice president for business and finance at St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public liberal arts school with an enrollment of about 2,000.

It's the right place for my family and me, Botzman said in a phone interview from his office in St. Mary's City, Md., on Tuesday. The contract is for three years; financial terms were not made public.

‘Building on successes'

Botzman does not anticipate making big changes and instead will look to continue building on the successes they have.

What drew him to Misericordia was its liberal arts curriculum and mission, something he has become accustomed to the past nine years at St. Mary's and in the previous 15 years he spent on the faculty at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.

They're all small residential liberal arts colleges that look to engage students and prepare them to get out and do great things in the world, Botzman said.

His resume also lists several years working for Goodyear Tire & Rubber, earning patents for compounds used in the tire-making process.

In his role at St. Mary's, his areas of responsibility have included finance, human resources, facilities and maintenance, information technology, government relations, athletics, sailing and public safety. He's also a professor of economics.

While he enjoys teaching, Botzman doesn't anticipate getting into the classroom often his first year at Misericordia, although he hopes to be an invited guest lecturer as time permits.

Brings business acumen

He said his background in business and economics – he's worked in industry and is the holder of 12 U.S. patents – will play a big role in his ability to serve as president and make sure finances are in place to provide an education at a reasonable price for all students who want to learn.

As president of Misericordia University, I will need to convey the pivotal roles of teaching, research and service to a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies, especially in matching curriculum and program to students' needs, Botzman said, explaining how his background in both teaching and administration will aid his transition to the new leadership post.

That same background and enthusiasm were noted by the head of the search committee as making Botzman stand out from the other 68 applicants.

Dr. Botzman's background and expertise matched Misericordia University's agenda for new leadership perfectly. He brings significant enthusiasm for this important leadership position, and a broad array of successful experiences that will enable him to build on the momentum our University has experienced over these last 15 years, said university Trustee Christopher Borton.

The board of trustees voted unanimously to offer the position to Botzman after on-campus interviews with the four finalists: Botzman, Michael Fischer, Barbara Farley and Suzanne Mellon.

MacDowell applauded the hire.

Tom possesses the background and the credentials to make him an outstanding president. His years of leadership in higher education at both private and public colleges, his interest and experience in international higher education programs, and his demeanor fit well with the people and programs that make up the university.

Botzman will become the sixth person to take over as president of a local university in the past three years. Changes have also occurred at Wilkes University, King's College, Lackawanna College, The University of Scranton and The Commonwealth Medical College.

Bishop's statement

Joseph C. Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, issued a statement welcoming Botzman to the diocese and the college.

I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Dr. Botzman and the Misericordia community in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect as together we strive to produce leaders for tomorrow's world who possess intellect that is rooted in moral, spiritual and ethical sensitivities which are essential to be successful in today's society, Bambera said.


Thomas A. Botzman, who will become president of Misericordia University July 1, earned a B.S. in engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He also holds an M.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in business administration from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Botzman and his wife, Vanessa, a nurse, have one daughter, Gabriela, a high school senior.

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