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F. Edward Coughlin Elected 11th President of Siena College

Earlier this morning, the Siena College Board of Trustees announced that F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, had been selected as the 11th president of the school. This makes permanent the interim position he has held since the summer.

Edward’s predecessor, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, reacted with the following message: “I am very happy for the Siena College community and for the friars of Holy Name Province that Ed has accepted the offer of the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees to become the 11th president of Siena College. In the short time that he served as interim president, he manifested the qualities that are needed as a leader in the academic community. He quickly gained Siena’s confidence with his collaborative leadership style.

“Holy Name Province is proud of our brother, Ed,” Kevin added. “I am personally grateful that Ed has assumed this position. He has the full support of the Provincial Administration.”

The following news release from Siena College has been edited for style.

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — The Siena College Board of Trustees has announced that F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, has been appointed the 11th president of Siena College, effective immediately.

A Franciscan brother for more than 40 years, Edward has led a distinguished career in Catholic higher education as a scholar, professor and senior administrator. Prior to coming to Siena, he was vice president for Franciscan mission at St. Bonaventure University and a Siena trustee. Ed became the college’s interim president in August after Kevin Mullen, OFM, ’75, resigned to become Provincial Minister.

“Since the day he stepped into the president’s office, Br. Ed has guided the college with a clear vision for the future,” said Howard Foote, ’74, chair of the board of trustees. “We are highly confident in his ability to advance Siena’s mission and navigate the complex challenges of higher education to ensure that our students receive the education of a lifetime.”

Bringing Commitment, Progressive Ideas
Robert McCormick ’87, board treasurer and chair of the presidential search committee, praised Ed’s skills in guiding the college. “Br. Ed will lead Siena with financial prudence and a deep commitment to the college community and the Capital Region. Implementing his fresh, progressive ideas will position Siena for continued growth and sustained success.”

Ed is committed to helping Siena students attain their personal and professional goals by providing them with academically rigorous and career-focused programs within a liberal arts context steeped in the Franciscan tradition. He is also developing personal connections with students and his faculty colleagues. It’s common to see Ed enjoying a meal in Lonnstrom Dining Hall surrounded by students, faculty, administrators and staff.

“Br. Ed has established a definite presence on campus. He has made a concerted effort to reach out to the students and to welcome them into our community,” said Student Senate president Tom Kaczmarek ’15. “Br. Ed actively embodies our Franciscan mission. I am thrilled about Br. Ed’s commitment to the college and look forward to seeing our community flourish under his leadership.”

“Since Br. Ed took the reins, I have had many opportunities to speak and work with him on a large variety of issues,” said Paul Dwyer, ’71, professor of business law and faculty chair. “I have found that experience to be very positive and have come away from it with a deep and growing respect for his efforts, demeanor and attention to a wide variety of concerns in a short amount of time. He has also successfully developed concrete plans at a time when they are so needed. On behalf of the faculty, I wholeheartedly support his appointment as the next president of Siena College.”

Sharing Experience and Wisdom
Through its current strategic plan and $50 million comprehensive campaign, both titled “Living our Tradition,” the college continues to increase student engagement through the creation and advancement of cutting-edge academic programs. It has also developed a culture of diversity, invested in scholarships and Division I athletics, and built technologically advanced, student-focused living and learning spaces. These initiatives will be enhanced by Ed’s vision, values and vitality.

“Ed Coughlin brings many needed gifts to the office of the presidency at Siena. He has broad experience in administration, the wisdom of a seasoned teacher and scholar, the energy and enthusiasm of a person half his age, and the spirituality and vision of a genuine Franciscan,” said Siena trustee Kenneth Himes, OFM, ’71. “As a Siena alum, as well as a member of the board of trustees, I feel grateful to Ed that he has accepted the challenge of being Siena’s president at a time when higher education in this nation is going through many changes and reforms.”

Since he started at Siena, Ed has begun addressing the challenges facing the college and other liberal arts institutions, including a shrinking college-age population, the need to diversify course offerings and increased competition from long-distance, online delivery systems. Still, he believes in the spirit of Siena’s mission and its strength of offering a diverse, dynamic and student-centered education.

“Siena College is a leader in faith-based, liberal arts education. I am honored to work with Siena’s accomplished faculty, dedicated administrators and staff, and talented students to help this institution thrive,” said Ed. “Remaining true to Siena’s roots while also branching out into new and uncharted directions is an ongoing task that will continue throughout my presidency. Solid steps have already been taken toward an even more promising future. Siena is creating fresh spaces and developing new programs designed to bring faculty and students together into a vibrant Franciscan learning community committed to scholarship, innovation and service.”

A date for Ed’s formal installation as the eleventh president of Siena College has not yet been determined, but will be held during the spring 2015 semester.

Ken Jubie is manager of media services at Siena College.