Presidential Initiatives

Since taking office in 2015, President Rooney has instituted several initiatives that have positively impacted our students and our campus community.

Campus Conversations

Every semester, President Rooney invites faculty and staff to his Campus Conversations to offer an update on any number of current topics. He is often joined by members of senior staff and others to provide in-depth details on enrollment, new campus initiatives, University planning, and other topics. In the fall, two freshmen speak about their experiences on campus to date, and in the spring, two graduating seniors reflect on how their time on campus has impacted and prepared them for life after Fisher.

Civic Action Plan

Students with Paint Rollers

The Campus Compact—a national coalition of over 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education—celebrated its 30th anniversary in the 2015-16 academic year, which was also President Rooney’s first year in office. He, along with more than 450 presidents and chancellors, signed an Action Statement, pledging to remain committed to the public purposes of higher education and to develop a campus Civic Action Plan to realize those purposes on their respective campuses. Thanks to the thoughtful work of President Rooney as well as several members of the administration, faculty, and staff, Civic Action Plan [pdf] was developed and is currently being implemented in a variety of ways.

Executive Intern Program

President Rooney working with Executive Interns

In 2016, President Rooney started the University's Executive Intern program, designed for juniors and seniors who have an interest in higher education and in understanding executive leadership in a collegiate setting. As an executive intern, students gain a deeper understanding of higher education leadership while also experiencing it. They engage in strategic discussions, further develop management skills, gain experience in project-based work, and become familiar with and participate in the internal and external workings of the University.

Executive interns are placed in the following campus divisions and offices:

  • Office of the President
  • Office of Institutional Advancement
  • Division of Student Affairs
  • Office of Marketing and Communications
  • Division of Enrollment Management
  • Division of Financial Affairs
  • Office of the Provost
  • Intercollegiate Athletics

Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will focus its work on supporting Pillar 4 of the Strategic Plan as it relates to three crucial areas of interest, identified by campus constituents at the Spring 2019 Convocation. Those areas include: training and development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; assessment and evaluation of current programs and identifying an annual theme for future programming; and researching and recommending best practices for the University to implement in the area of recruitment and retention of both employees and students. President Rooney has also asked the Task Force to develop an institutional diversity statement that will serve as a guide in the University's work moving forward.

Task Force Participants

Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Participants

  • Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, President
  • Dr. Eileen Lynd-Balta, Associate Provost

Group 1: Best Practices of Training/Self-Assessment

  • Dr. Nancy Bowllan '08 (Ed.D.), Wegmans School of Nursing
  • Derick Wigle '13 (M.S.), Director of Residential Life
  • Dr. Carolina Saffie-Robertson, School of Business
  • Sara Vinch, Director of Foundation Relations
  • Dr. Jenna Rossi, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Dave DiCaro, Director of Safety and Security

Group 2: Inventory of Current Programming and Analysis

  • Dr. Matha Thornton, VP for Student Affairs
  • Oskarys Fermin '20, Student Representative
  • Loriane Ngarambe '14, Alumni Representative
  • Jackie Peterson '75, Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Whitney Rapp, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education
  • Yantee Slobert, Director Multicultural Affairs
  • Jonathan Schott '02, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry

Group 3: Best Practices of Recruitment and Retention

  • Jose Ramos '13, '19 (MBA), Assistant Director of Freshman Admissions/Multicultural Recruiter
  • Clarence Norman, Director of HEOP
  • Dr. Vivek Dave, Wegmans School of Pharmacy
  • Andrea Maccarone, Director of Fisher Dining Services
  • Dr. Marlowe Washington '19 (Ed.D.), Graduate Representative
  • Jill McCabe, Associate Athletic Director

Coffee and Conversation

As a way of sharing the President’s Residence with more members of the campus community, President Rooney began Coffee and Conversation – a morning of casual meetings among faculty and staff at the President’s Residence. They take place regularly throughout the academic year.

“Before the event, the president was a face and a name, but to be here and meet his wife and see where he lives, it makes Fisher feel like your home. It’s the Fisher family. They say it, but now I really understand it.”

“Before the event, the president was a face and a name, but to be here and meet his wife and see where he lives, it makes Fisher feel like your home. It’s the Fisher family. They say it, but now I really understand it.”

Pizza and Puzzles

In an effort to meet new freshmen and offer them a home away from home, President and Mrs. Rooney started Pizza and Puzzles, a regular event that takes place throughout the academic year at the President’s Residence. Three or four times each semester, a group of students are invited to their home to relax, converse, and meet with their peers over a sheet pizza and puzzles.