Thiel president raised $65 million, developed new plan in 1st year

GREENVILLE, Pa. (WYTV) – Thiel College — which has been educating students since 1866 — likes to say it has a big impact.

It did again this year on many fronts, but with a new leader — Dr. Susan Traverso — who had a different perspective in setting a course for the future.

There was a chapel service at the college Friday. It was part of the installation ceremony for President Traverso, who’s completing her first school year on campus with Sunday’s graduation ceremony.

“When there’s a presidential transition, it’s an opportunity to think again why we’re here, what we’re doing and what we’re looking forward to,” Traverso said.

Since starting in August, Dr. Traverso has developed a new strategic plan for the college. She also finished raising $65 million and has overseen the addition onto the science building.

“The science connector is definitely a big thing,” Victoria Villano, a Thiel student from Canfield, said. “We’re looking for more research-based sciences, which is going to be really awesome.”

Thiel’s senior class has close to 200 students and nearly every one has gotten a job or been accepted to a prestigious graduate school.

It’s apparent Dr. Traverso has brought a buzz and energy to campus for the entire student body.

“She’s such a lively person, and I think for a president of a college, that is necessary,” Philip Brewer, a Thiel student from Youngstown, said. “She encourages us to do our best.”

Dr. Traverso is passionate about academic leadership. She shows it from the top of the college, recognizing it’s an honor, but also a challenge to be the first woman president in Thiel history.

“They see there can be a diversity of leadership,” Traverso said. “That if people are talented and willing to work hard, that doors can open for them. So I do think it’s significant because of what it means — the message it sends to our students.”

Going forward, Dr. Traverso wants to continue Thiel’s strength as a liberal arts college, plus add some select graduate programs.