A PHILLY GIRL is heading closer to home to take charge of Widener University.

Julie Wollman announced yesterday that she's leaving her current position as president of Erie County's Edinboro University of Pennsylvania for the top job at Widener.

"I am looking forward to strengthening the manner in which Widener can serve the needs of the metropolitan area in meaningful and mutually rewarding ways," Wollman, a Germantown native, said in a statement yesterday.

She replaces interim president Stephen Wilhite, who took over after longtime president James Harris left the Chester school in August to assume the presidency at the University of San Diego.

Widener's 10th president, Wollman will officially take office on Jan. 19.

While at Edinboro, Wollman established Porreco College, a secondary campus in downtown Erie designed to better serve its inner-city population.

Before starting there in 2012, she served as vice president of academic affairs at Boston's Wheelock College, and had other administrative stints at Worcester State University in Massachusetts and at Rhode Island College.

"We had an excellent pool of well-qualified candidates for the position, and Dr. Wollman impressed the search committee as a leader who will further develop and implement Widener's strategic vision," Paul Beideman, chairman of the university's presidential search committee, said in a statement.

"She is an excellent match for Widener University at this time in its history."

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