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La Salle names interim president

James P. Gallagher, former president of Philadelphia University, will become interim president at La Salle.

James P. Gallagher will become a college president - again - this time at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

Gallagher, who led Philadelphia University for 23 years until 2007, will become interim president at La Salle as the school searches for its next leader. He also served as interim president of Arcadia University in 2011 when that school was looking for a new president.

"Dr. Gallagher is an extremely respected, seasoned president and accomplished academic leader who is ideally suited to maximize La Salle's potential during this interim period," William R. Sautter, chair of La Salle's board of trustees, said in a statement. "In addition to his other duties as Interim President, I have also asked him to play a major role in the search for the next President of La Salle University and to participate in the further development of the University's strategic plan."

Gallagher will step in for Brother Michael J. McGinniss, who announced last year his intention to leave at the end of this month after 15 years at the helm.

"I look forward to providing the best leadership possible to the La Salle community and to participating in the life of the University," Gallagher said in a statement. "In addition, I look forward to supporting the University as it takes steps into the future and to assisting the Board of Trustees in the search for the next President of this fine institution."

Gallagher also is a former chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Education, a former state commissioner of higher education and a former member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.

He has his bachelor's degree from St. Francis College, his master's from Duquesne University and his doctorate in higher education from The Catholic University of America. He also completed post-doctoral studies at Yale's School of Management and the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard.