As Delaware Valley College celebrated its centennial, Williamsburg, Pa., native Thomas C. Leamer took the helm, becoming the College’s 11th president.
Leamer is reputed to have a notably powerful handshake, a trait representing the strong leadership DelVal needed after 10 years of presidential turnover. He “was exactly the president DelVal needed,” said Patricia Hilton, 2007 chair-elect of the College’s board of trustees. “He was an “exceptional leader, a determined visionary and a true friend to us all.”
In his decade-long tenure, Leamer is credited with having boosted competitiveness for admissions and enhancing the physical campus with construction of a new residence hall and upgrades to athletic facilities and technological resources. At the time of his retirement in 2007, the College boasted the largest enrollment in its history and ranked in the top 25 among northern comprehensive colleges in U.S. News and World Report. When Leamer stepped down as president, he was given the title of president emeritus.
Leamer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in technical agriculture from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate in agricultural education from the Pennsylvania State University.
His wide-ranging experience in higher education included academic and administrative posts. At the State University of New York at Morrisville, Leamer twice served as acting president. Just previous to joining DelVal, he was executive vice president at Morrisville and vice president for academic affairs before that. He also served as dean of the School of Agricultural Technologies at the State University of New York at Alfred, and as professor and chairman of the plant science department at the State University of New York at Cobleskill.
As well as being president at DelVal, Leamer also held the rank of professor of plant science, with special expertise in agronomy, field crops and soil, and environmental sciences. His professional affiliations include the American Technical Education Association, the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, Syracuse University Center for Advanced Technology, and the Governor’s Task Force on Agricultural Education for the state of New York.
After 10 years serving as DelVal’s president, Leamer said that retiring was a “difficult decision,” adding, “I cherish the decade I have spent here, and although there is a time for all good things to end, a part of my heart will always belong to Delaware Valley College.”
Leamer and his wife, Susan have four children and several grandchildren.