Brescia University College Principal assuming leadership at La Salle University

News Release
February 17, 2015

London, ON – After an outstanding seven-year term as Principal of Brescia University College, Dr. Colleen Hanycz has accepted an appointment to lead La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as its next President. She will be the first female and lay President of La Salle since its founding as a university in 1863. At La Salle, Dr. Hanycz will take on her next challenge, leading a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution of approximately 6,300 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Throughout her tenure at Brescia, she has championed the values of Canada’s only women’s university, inspired by the guiding principles of the Ursuline Sisters of the Chatham Union – strong women of faith committed to social justice, community service, and the development of women. Dr. Hanycz sees more similarities than differences between La Salle and Brescia and feels well prepared for the transition. She says, “La Salle is an institution that is similar to Brescia in many ways. Catholic in the Lasallian tradition, this university has thrived for over 150 years, stewarded by the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptist de La Salle. Its focus on serving society and, in particular, those who exist on the margins of our communities, is a familiar and attractive ethos. As difficult as it is to imagine leaving Brescia, I believe that La Salle is a perfect place to continue the work I love.”

Since Dr. Hanycz’s arrival in 2008, she has led the university in exceeding its strategic goals, resulting in a student community which has grown by more than 50% over the past five years. She oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art residence – Clare Hall – with its accompanying dining pavilion, The Mercato, arguably the most sophisticated student-centered campus residence complex in the country. Brescia’s profile in the community has steadily grown and is now recognized internationally for its focus on developing girls and women for leadership. Perhaps her strongest achievement has been Dr. Hanycz’s ability to consolidate Brescia’s commitment to leadership, including the creation of the only public speaking contest of its kind in Canada – Take the Lead, which this year will welcome senior high school students from across Canada and internationally, and the launch of its academic Leadership program in 2009 and the expansion of its domestic GirlsLEAD camp to the Caribbean and Hong Kong.

Liz Hewitt, Chair of Brescia’s Board of Trustees, says of this appointment, “We are so proud of Colleen’s accomplishments over the past seven years and we are grateful for her hard work and dedication to Brescia and our students. She has mentored so many young women and advanced the development of female leaders in an unparalleled way.  She has set a bright, bold course for Brescia’s future, and while we are sad to see her leave, we know that this is a tremendous opportunity for her and that she will have the same positive influence on the students, faculty and staff of La Salle University.”

A further recognition of Dr. Hanycz’s commitment to leadership came in the form of her recent selection as a 2015 Woman of Excellence by the organizers of the YMCA Women of Excellence Awards, where she will be recognized on May 7, 2015 in the category of Arts, Culture, Education and Training.

William R. Sautter, Chair of La Salle’s Board of Trustees says, “This is a pivotal moment in La Salle’s history. We are very pleased and excited to name Dr. Hanycz as the next President of La Salle University. She is an innovative academic leader with an impressive record as an agent of positive change. She is ideally suited to maximize La Salle’s potential while continuing to honor our distinctive mission and values.”



For more information please contact:

Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519-432-8353, ext. 28280 or at

Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,300 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Media Centre at