President of La Salle University
When I asked Colleen what was behind her drive, she share that years ago it may have been to prove to herself that she could do it. Today, it’s all about the excitement of the challenge, and the love of her work!
To hear the full Women to Watch™ Media interview with Colleen, listen below.
On July 1, 2015, Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., became La Salle University’s 29th President—the first layperson and first woman to serve as President in La Salle’s 153-year history. Throughout her accomplished career as an attorney, professor, and administrator, Dr. Hanycz has been an active proponent of Catholic education as a means to advance the common good, and to celebrate the dignity of each person.
In her two years at La Salle, Dr. Hanycz has led a number of significant strategic initiatives to position the University for growth and continued success, and to improve the educational experience and outcomes for its students.
These initiatives include a strategic program prioritization that evaluated each of La Salle’s 300+ academic and operational programs to promote alignment between the University’s programs, resources and mission, and to create a culture of continuous improvement; a refreshed brand—Explorers are Never Lost—to better tell La Salle’s magnificent story; a tuition reset program—An Affordable Path for All—that reshaped the paradigm on college affordability; a new core curriculum and 15 robust learning outcomes to ensure La Salle graduates are prepared for personal and professional success; and a five-year strategic plan, Momentum 2022, that will build upon these achievements, propelling La Salle forward to claim its place as a national leader in exceptional student outcomes.
Under her leadership, the class of 2021 is one of the largest in decades, the most talented academically, and the most diverse by every measure—a remarkable achievement given persistent national trends of declining enrollment.
Dr. Hanycz previously served in a Presidential role at Brescia University College in London, Ontario, Canada. During her seven-year tenure at Brescia, a Catholic women’s college, she implemented a bold strategic plan that raised the college’s national profile, increased enrollment significantly, improved retention rates for talented students, faculty, and staff, doubled on-campus residence space, and developed innovative academic programs. At Brescia, Dr. Hanycz also launched a rebranding initiative to capitalize on Brescia’s identity as Canada’s only women’s college and to place an emphasis on women’s leadership. As part of the Brescia Bold—Choose to Lead initiative, Brescia developed an academic program on leadership, instituted a public speaking contest for female high school seniors across Canada, and expanded its Girls LEAD leadership development camps to international locations in the Caribbean and Hong Kong.
A native of Toronto, Dr. Hanycz graduated from Senator O’Connor College High School, which was then led by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. She has said that the Lasallian charism has had a deep influence on the values she applies to her life and her work, visible in her commitment to a transformational academic experience, authentic community, and service to the most vulnerable in society.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in history from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, Dr. Hanycz completed her J.D. at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She practiced securities and employment litigation for several years in Toronto and then returned to graduate studies, completing her LL.M. and Ph.D. in law at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Dr. Hanycz began her academic career in 2003 at her alma mater, Osgoode, where she was appointed Assistant Dean for First Year Students after only one year as a tenure-stream faculty member. In 2008, Dr. Hanycz was granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. That same year, she was recruited to Brescia and began focusing on senior academic administration in earnest. Throughout her tenure at Brescia, Hanycz carried on scholarly activities in the area of dispute resolution and taught both in Brescia’s Leadership program and in the LL.M. program at Osgoode Hall.
Dr. Hanycz is a past chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada and has served as Vice Chair of the Board of the London Health Sciences Centre and as a director of St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario. She also served as a government appointee on the Public Accountants’ Council of Ontario, among various other community roles.
Dr. Hanycz has been broadly recognized for her community contributions and educational leadership; most significantly, as a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She was honored with the 2015 YMCA Women of Excellence Award prior to her departure from Canada. Dr. Hanycz and her husband Peter have three children: a son, Erik, and daughters Emily and Claire.
For more information regarding Colleen, check out the links below.