New Provost Brings Unparalleled Experience and Expertise
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New Provost Brings Unparalleled Experience and Expertise

Gerard (Gerry) O’Sullivan, PhD, joined the Salus University family in March of 2023 as interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs after the retirement of Dr. Barry Eckert. On Oct. 1, Dr. O’Sullivan was invited to serve as ongoing provost and vice president of Academic Affairs by University president Michael Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FACHE, FAAO

“It was an honor to be asked and a pleasure to accept,” said Dr. O’Sullivan. “I’ve spent the entirety of my 35-year career in higher education serving nonprofit independent colleges and universities that have clear missions. Salus University’s mission is both clear and compelling. And, President Mittelman and I are very much in sync on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the University.”

Dr. O'Sullivan headshot

Dr. Mittelman concurs. He calls the addition of Dr. O’Sullivan to the Salus family “an absolute pleasure” and that having him on the team “makes my job so much easier.”

The unparalleled experience and expertise Dr. O’Sullivan has brought to Salus has been instrumental in our merger process with Drexel University, pending approvals, and in continuing to enable all of our academic programs to thrive,” said Dr. Mittelman. “An ardent advocate for his faculty, Gerry works tirelessly to ensure that our programs and faculty have what they need to flourish and to celebrate their successes. It’s been a delight getting to know him and work with him on complex issues.”

Dr. O’Sullivan earned degrees from Fordham University, Vanderbilt and the University of Pennsylvania as well as a certificate from Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management, a highly selective and intensive program that prepares future higher education leaders to take on senior and executive roles. 

He has also served in numerous positions as a higher education professional, including faculty member, dean, department chair, program director, and vice president. In 2016, he was recruited to become the senior vice president for Accreditation and Compliance for a Pennsylvania-based Online Provider Management company at the same time he was forming his own practice in higher education consulting. 

For the past eight years, Dr. O’Sullivan and his team provided advisory services to campuses facing financial, accreditation-related and strategic challenges and also assisted with several startups and mergers.

“For almost a decade I helped colleges and universities make plans to merge or partner with other institutions,” said Dr. O’Sullivan. “When I was told about Salus University’s plan to merge with Drexel I was elated. Salus is getting ahead of the curve and joining forces with a larger, stronger partner to grow in size, strength, and excellence.”

He noted that independent higher education will only grow and thrive through mergers.

“Salus University’s board and president were very prescient in committing themselves to this course of action. I am honored to be able to apply some of the tools in my professional toolkit to the pending merger. And, I am blessed with a truly wonderful and talented team at Salus,” said Dr. O’Sullivan.

From his observation, the experience of advising on a merger from outside is very different from the business of helping lead a merger from within and he would like to give credit and apologies to every provost and chief academic officer he “rode herd” in his previous life. 

Dr. O'Sullivan speaking at commencement

“Managing a merger from inside a university is very different and a much more time-and labor-intensive experience than consulting on a merger. I’m learning something new every single day,” he said. 

Dr. O’Sullivan, who originally hails from New York City, regards the Philadelphia area as his adoptive home. “I grew up in the Bronx – one of six children crammed together in a small apartment and raised in an immigrant household,” he said. His father drove a Fifth Avenue bus and later served as a New York City police officer whereas his mother was both wait staff and a host for Schrafft’s Fifth Avenue Restaurant. Serendipitously, Schrafft’s is reopening its flagship NYC location after 40 years. “But as much as I may enjoy visiting New York, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life in the Delaware Valley and I’m happy to call it my home,” he said.  

Dr. O’Sullivan and his wife, Lesley, have two grown sons and live in Delaware County with two cats and “too many books,” as Dr. O’Sullivan points out. He and his wife, who serves as an archivist for Saint Joseph’s University, share many interests in common and have worked together on projects ranging from forensic bibliography and annotated editions to developing curricula for graduate-level seminars. They are both fond of travel, art and music and are active in supporting regional and national nonprofits.