New Lourdes president to take over July 1

David J. Livingston
David J. Livingston

A university administrator from Pennsylvania has been named the ninth president of Lourdes University, school officials announced today.

David Livingston, the vice president of advancement at Mercyhurst University, was introduced at a Morning news conference.

He succeeds Robert Helmer, who resigned last year after 10 years as president to take a similar position at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Since Mr. Helmer's departure, Provost Janet Robinson has served as interim president for the university.

Mercyhurst is a Catholic school based in Erie, Penn. and has two other campuses. Its enrollment is larger than Lourdes', with more than 4,000 undergraduate students, while Lourdes has less than 3,000. Mr. Livingston has been vice president for advancement at Mercyhurst since 2008, and first joined the university in 1997. He served time as president of the Faculty Senate and also chaired the religious studies department.

About 200 people attended today's unveiling of Mr. Livingston as Lourdes' new president.

Thomas Geiger, Jr., chairman of the Lourdes board of trustees, said Mr. Livingston has helped lead a university that has seen record breaking enrollment, added new programs, and expanded its facilities. Mr. Livingston helped develop a study abroad program and an international campus in Ireland.

Mr. Livingston helped increase annual contributions to the university by more than 80 percent, raised more than $30 million in a capital campaign, and more than $10 million for a new academic building.

Mr. Geiger said the university was looking for a president who embraced Catholic and Franciscan values, could partner with the community, understood the needs of traditional and non traditional students, and had a proven track record in institutional growth.

"We believe (Mr. Livingston) has the strength and understanding and humility to grow in the job itself and also lead the Lourdes University community for years to come," he said.

Mr. Livingston will take over as president July 1, and will be formally inaugurated in the fall. He called his appointment at today's ceremony "a little overwhelming," thanked the university and the search committee that selected him, and spoke of Lourdes' tradition in higher education.

He also spoke about the challenges facing educational institutions, including shrinking demographics, the increasing importance of a higher education degree, and a public frustrated with the costs of that education.

"Lourdes University will not be spared these challenges," Mr. Livingston said.

Mr. Livingston has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augustana College, a master’s degree in theology from Loyola University, and a doctorate in theology from Vanderbilt University. He is married and has two children.

The search for Mr. Helmer's replacement drew candidates from 24 states and Canada, according to the university.