Q&A: Gwynedd Mercy University’s Deanne Horner D'Emilio

The university’s sixth president takes office on Aug. 1.


As of Aug. 1, Gwynedd Mercy University has a new leader, Deanne Horner D’Emilio. The university’s sixth president has a long history with Sisters of Mercy schools, having most recently served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. Prior to that, D’Emilio spent 15 years as an administrator and faculty member at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson. Trained as a lawyer, the Pittsburgh native brings a diverse background to her latest role. 

MLT: What inspired you to get into education?

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DHD: I’ve always been a teacher at heart, despite the fact that I ended up as an attorney. I think my story is kind of interesting for students. I got an undergraduate degree in one discipline, a graduate degree in another, and another degree in yet another discipline. Education prepares you to do all kinds of different things. 

MLT: What’s the personal significance of working within the Sisters of Mercy educational system?

DHD: I really identify with their core values—hospitality, dignity and respect of every human being. That has a critical place in our world today—and what better place to have it really integrated than in higher education, where we’re preparing people to go out into the world?

MLT: What does it mean to you to be among a small percentage of women around the country who are in higher-education leadership positions?

DHD: I’m very honored to be one of those people. I feel that sense of responsibility to be a role model and an example for other women who are thinking about it or are in the pipeline. I’ve been a part of HERS, which is a group dedicated to preparing women leaders in higher-education administration. I feel fortunate that I was given those opportunities. I’m glad to be continuing that.

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MLT: What are your goals for your presidency?

DHD: The beginning part of my presidency will be getting to know the constituency — students, faculty, staff, trustees — and people outside the community, as well, getting a feel for what folks are thinking, what their visions are, what they think the challenges are. It’s really important that I’m out and talking and listening to people.

Visit www.gmercyu.edu

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