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Delaware Valley University picked a longtime administrator, Benjamin Rusiloski, to be its new president

Rusiloski began his career as an assistant professor of chemistry at the Doylestown school in 1994 and went on to chair two academic departments and serve as dean of the faculty.

Benjamin E. Rusiloski. a longtime Delaware Valley University administrator, takes over as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary.
Benjamin E. Rusiloski. a longtime Delaware Valley University administrator, takes over as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary.Read moreCourtesy of Delaware Valley University

Delaware Valley University has named Benjamin E. Rusiloski, a former faculty member and longtime administrator, as its next president.

Rusiloski, who has worked at the private university in Doylestown for more than 25 years, will become its 14th president as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary, the school announced Wednesday morning. He most recently had served as interim president, replacing Maria Gallo, who left this year to become chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

“From the time I stepped foot on the campus as a faculty member, I never imagined I’d be talking to you today about being the president,” said Rusiloski, 53, a Vermont native who grew up in Mountain Top, Pa., near Hazleton, and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from King’s College and his doctorate from Duke University. “I am absolutely elated to be able to lead and work with this outstanding team of professionals that is committed to each and every student realizing their potential.”

» READ MORE: Delaware Valley maintains a close connection to its founder: His ashes are housed in the library

Most notably, Rusiloski led the development of Delaware Valley’s experiential learning program, Experience 360, which blends classroom learning with experience outside the classroom to prepare students for career success. And that was a factor in his selection.

“Throughout the search process, Dr. Rusiloski’s work in experiential learning really stood out to us,” Majid Alsayegh, who chairs the university’s board of trustees, said in a statement.

Rusiloski, a resident of Doylestown, began as an assistant professor of chemistry at Delaware Valley in 1994 and went on to chair two academic departments, serve as dean of the School of Life and Physical Sciences and then vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

“I know the school very well in terms of where it’s been and where we need to go,” he told The Inquirer in an interview. “And I think the relationships I have both internally and externally are going to assist the university in achieving its goals and expanding into new relationships and partnerships.”

Delaware Valley was founded as a farm school that catered to Jewish men, but long ago went coed. It now enrolls about 2,720 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students and remains rich in agricultural and life science programs — two-thirds of its students are in animal-related studies — but has grown in business, psychology, and criminal justice. In 2015, it converted from a college to a university.

Rusiloski said he will continue to focus on programs that lead to not just a first job but career paths for students. The university recently launched a nutrition science major and completed an overhaul of its three greenhouses, he said. The school is looking for funding and a partnership to start a poultry science center, he said.

This weekend is homecoming and Rusiloski said he looks forward to connecting with alumni.

“We have 17,000 living alumni and about 2,000 of them have been my students,” he said.