BEVERLY — A new era has officially begun at Endicott College in Beverly.
The institution’s seventh president, Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., was installed on Friday, Sept. 27, during an inauguration ceremony held at Hempstead Stadium on the seaside campus.
More than 60 delegates from colleges and universities joined Endicott faculty, trustees and community members at the historical academic ceremony—one which the campus has not witnessed in over 30 years.
Following the investiture, DiSalvo said he was honored and humbled to become the seventh president of Endicott College.
“This is more than an inauguration,” he said. “It is, in fact, a celebration of the power of education itself, something which many of us here have dedicated much of our professional lives.”
When he and his wife, Eileen, were asked to consider applying for the opportunity at Endicott, DiSalvo said they discovered a beautiful campus and a beautiful canvas on which to work.
“Now, it is impossible to speak of the gifts of Endicott College without speaking of and honoring the legacy of Dr. Richard Wylie,” he said, a sentiment which garnered applause. “For over three decades, Dr. Wylie’s passion and vision for Endicott were both its compass and its rocket fuel. Many people have told me they are big shoes to fill, which is all the more challenging because I only wear a size 8.5.”
Admitting that he has no intention to try to fill Wylie's shoes, DiSalvo said he does intend to honor the former president's legacy and the evolving Endicott College story by building upon the magnificent foundation Wylie helped create.
“Our faculty and staff will continue to perform together in the great symphony that is higher education at Endicott,” he said. “Our repertoire will consist of the familiar, as well as the new. We will not abandon the masterworks that have created Endicott College. But, together, we will perform new pieces, engaging new audiences while remaining connected to our longtime fans, our alumni, parents, friends and benefactors.”
A warm welcome
Cynthia Merkle, chairman of the Endicott College Board of Trustees, said the desire for Endicott to continue to be a relevant institution in this fast-changing world, remaining both affordable and accessible, was one of the reasons DiSalvo was chosen to lead the college.
“It became clear, pretty quickly, that affordability and accessibility were fundamental goals of Dr. DiSalvo, and I suspect were important to him based upon his own personal, educational journey,” she said. “He, too, was looking for a good fit, a setting where he could innovate and focus on student success and outcomes while being supported by a community that was willing to try new things. In the end, we found each other and we are all here today to celebrate moving forward.”
During the ceremony, several dignitaries shared thoughts and greetings, officially welcoming DiSalvo to the Endicott College community.
Alisa Kriekis de Gaspe Beaubien, president of the Endicott College Alumni Council, said she has seen the footprint of the campus grow and residents of Beverly and neighboring communities marvel at the successes of the institution.
“I cherish the Endicott of yesterday, but I’m oh, so excited to see what the Endicott of tomorrow will be under Dr. DiSalvo’s leadership, the team of committed professionals on campus and the phenomenal students we welcome every year,” she said, describing the school as a hidden secret known by the lucky. “I am confident, with Dr. DiSalvo’s leadership, our secret is no longer safe, and new communities everywhere will learn about Endicott.”
James T. Brett, president and CEO of The New England Council, said he got to know DiSalvo while he was the president at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H..
“I found Dr. DiSalvo to be an incredible campus leader who made the students and their long-term success his top priority,” he said. “In Dr. DiSalvo, you have a leader who will continue to build upon Endicott’s successes with a strong vision for the college’s continued growth … You have a leader with the skills, the experience and passion to make those goals a reality.”
Abdourrachid Abdoussamad Sow, an international studies major from West Africa and a member of Endicott’s Class of 2020, shared some advice with DiSalvo on behalf of the student body.
“As you take the gown of leadership on this new journey, wear it proudly,” he said. “When you walk around campus, down the halls, attend student-led activities and interact with our wonderful faculty, we hope that you feel at home, for this is your nest as much as it is ours. … We hope that you show us all of the possibilities that are out there. We hope that you inspire us to become dreamers, life-long learners and, above all, true leaders.”
Mayor Michael P. Cahill said his administration feels great optimism for the college’s present and future under DiSalvo’s leadership.
“We commit ourselves to being your partners in our shared journey,” he said. “And we wish you a long and successful tenure as president of Endicott College, filled with much personal happiness and professional fulfillment.”
DiSalvo came to Endicott College after serving as the 10th president of Saint Anselm College. At Saint Anselm, his tenure was marked by enrollment and endowment growth, a successful capital campaign, increased retention and graduation rates, and significant capital improvement projects.
Previously, DiSalvo was president at Wisconsin’s Marian University, where he bolstered the university’s endowment, upgraded its facilities and launched new undergraduate and graduate programs.