Delaware Valley University names first female president

Credit: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Dr. Maria Gallo.

Feb 18, 2016

Dr. Maria Gallo will become the thirteenth president of Delaware Valley University on July 1, 2016. She is currently the dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Dr. Gallo is the first female president in the University’s 120-year history. After an extensive national search, the University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted in February to select Dr. Gallo as the next president.

“Throughout the search process, we were struck by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received about Dr. Gallo and the extent to which her experience and qualities matched what we were looking for in the next president,” said Susan B. Ward, M.D. ’80, chair of the University’s Board. “She is a skilled and thoughtful listener, an inspiring communicator and she is passionate about DelVal’s mission. Dr. Gallo has the ability to lead and mentor our outstanding faculty and she’s an approachable leader who is committed to preparing students for a global future.”

Dr. Gallo brings a wealth of higher education leadership experience to the position. Her career has included more than 20 years in higher education. As dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, she serves close to 1,000 students in nine bachelor’s, nine master’s and six doctoral programs. Dr. Gallo leads the College’s faculty, administration and staff statewide and manages fiscal operations, facilities, enrollment, fundraising, technology, communications, marketing, international programs, and alumni and community relations. As dean, she led the development and implementation of the College’s strategic plan. The implementation of the plan resulted in:  student enrollment being maintained at 50 percent above 2009 levels, a nearly 25 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded over the last five years, a record-breaking number of graduates in spring 2015, and an all-time high for fundraising in 2014. During Dr. Gallo’s tenure, there were also significant increases in student and faculty diversity.

Prior to joining CTAHR, Dr. Gallo chaired the University of Florida’s agronomy department. During her career, she also taught and conducted research at the University of Florida and was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in teaching and research, authoring more than 70 journal publications. She also is a Fulbright Scholar who conducted teaching and research at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Dr. Gallo earned her bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Cornell University; and her master’s degree in crop science and Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead an incredibly dynamic institution with a rich history of interdisciplinary education,” said Dr. Gallo. “It was clear from the beginning that DelVal is a special university, where traditions of the founder are still in place. I look forward to continuing Rabbi Krauskopf’s vision.”

The search committee, chaired by Elizabeth “Betsy” Gemmill, a DelVal trustee, included representatives from the Board of Trustees, the faculty, president’s cabinet, staff and student body. The committee partnered with RPA, Inc., a top firm specializing in providing higher education search services and spent the fall conducting extensive listening sessions and gathering feedback from stakeholders. From these sessions, several important themes and a list of presidential qualities emerged that ultimately informed the position description, which drew more than 200 applicants.

“Dr. Gallo’s appointment as president represents the culmination of a comprehensive, national search that began in September 2015 and attracted a wide, large and very qualified pool of candidates,” said Gemmill. “We are grateful to the search committee and the many members of the University community who participated in the process, including the faculty, staff, and alumni.”

Dr. Gallo will succeed Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan who became president of the University in 2007. Dr. Brosnan announced last year his plan to retire at the end of the 2015-16 academic year.

Gemmill said the committee is grateful to Dr. Brosnan for his leadership and confident that Dr. Gallo will build on the extraordinary work and momentum of the presidents who came before her.

“Dr. Gallo is a respected scholar and a strong leader, with impressive accomplishments that align with DelVal’s future direction,” said Dr. Brosnan.

A native of New York, Dr. Gallo is looking forward to being closer to family in New Jersey and New York. Her spouse, Elizabeth A. Creary, and their beagle, Remy, will join her at DelVal.