Harrisburg University President Leaving, Dr. Eric Darr Appointed Interim President of HU

After a decade as President and CEO of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Dr. Mel Schiavelli announced today that he is leaving the university he helped to establish

Online PR News – 28-May-2012 – Harrisburg, PA – May 24, 2012 - After a decade as President and CEO of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Dr. Mel Schiavelli announced today that he is leaving the university he helped to establish to become executive vice president for academic and student services at Northern Virginia Community College effective July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the Board of Trustees announced that it has appointed Eric Darr, Ph.D., interim president of the University effective July 1, 2012.

“It has been my honor to work with corporate, government, and community leaders, to help transform the concept of a four-year educational institution in Harrisburg they advanced in 1999 into a reality. This community has accomplished that which many thought could never be done. Working together, we have created an institution of higher learning that emphasizes the partnership between business and education to create workforce-ready graduates,” says Schiavelli.

Schiavelli guided the University from concept to its current $73 million Academic Center at 326 Market Street in Harrisburg. Founded in 2001, the University became the first science and technology focused comprehensive university chartered in Pennsylvania in a century.

During his tenure at the university, total student enrollment increased from 113 in August 2005 to 1,022 (approximately 400 full-time equivalent students) in September 2011. The University also completed a $40-million comprehensive fundraising campaign: CONNECT: The Campaign for Harrisburg University, where it raised nearly $45 million, was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and has been profiled nationally as a new model for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) higher education.

"Mel has taken the vision of the community and formed it into an innovative and effective new model for STEM education. The community is, and will forever be, grateful for creating this gem in our city. We wish him well in his return to Virginia and thank him for his decade of service to create Harrisburg University,” says Robert Dolan, Chair of the Harrisburg University Board of Trustees.

Schiavelli says any successes were a collective effort.

“None of these were personal accomplishments but they were accomplishments of a strong and dedicated team. I believe that there comes a time when it’s appropriate to ask others to continue the work,” said Schiavelli. “This move is a ‘homecoming’ for me because I served at the nation’s second oldest college—The College of William and Mary in Virginia for 26 years. More than half of my professional life was spent in the Old Dominion where I still have many friends and colleagues.”

Begun in 1964, Northern Virginia Community College is the largest educational institution in Virginia and the second-largest community college in the United States, comprising of more than 75,000 students and 2,600 faculty and staff members. NOVA is also one of the most internationally diverse colleges in the United States, with a student body consisting of individuals from more than 180 countries.

A search committee will be appointed by Harrisburg University’s Board of Trustees to launch a national search to identify and interview potential candidates. The Board of Trustees will make the final selection with the goal to appoint the president by July 1, 2013.

“Eric arrived here before we had students and he has helped to build and grow the University from idea to reality. We are confident that he will provide excellent leadership to Harrisburg University,” said Dolan. “He has served as executive vice president and provost since 2007, and he is familiar with all aspects of the institution and with its many external partners. He has had primary responsibility for our academic programs and the recent growth in our enrollments. His experience will be essential as he guides the university during this period of transition.”

Darr earned both a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master of science degree in Industrial Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also earned an MBA and a doctor of philosophy degree in Organizational Behavior and Theory from Carnegie Mellon University where he studied under Nobel Prize Winner and noted organizational theorist Herbert Simon.

While at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles, he conducted research and consulted in over twenty multinational corporations including Arthur Andersen, Gemini Consulting, TRW Space and Electronics, Hughes Aerospace, Bank of America, Xerox, British Airways and Qantas Airlines.

During his career, he has developed and taught Doctoral and MBA courses in organizational learning, organizational change, organization design, process reengineering, business strategy and technology management. Further, he developed and taught executive education courses in measuring intellectual capital, corporate renewal, managing information technology resources, improving product development and creating organizational memory.

He has published numerous articles and book chapters on organizational learning, learning technologies and competitive advantage. He has been an invited speaker at universities in the United States, Austria, Great Britain, France, Australia and the Netherlands. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Center for International Business Education and Research at UCLA.

Prior to joining Harrisburg University he was Chief Operating Officer from 2000 until 2004 at KnowledgePlanet, Inc., a software company located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From 1997 to 2000, Dr. Darr led Ernst & Young’s Knowledge Management Consulting Services.

Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania's need for increased opportunities for study leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

For more information on the University's demand-driven undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in applied science and technology fields, call 717.901.5146 or email Connect@HarrisburgU.edu