For the first time in the college’s history, a lay male will be officially inaugurated as Villa Maria’s president. The inauguration of Matthew Giordano, Ph.D., who was appointed the institution’s fourth president in March, will take place on Friday, Nov. 15.
Inauguration day will begin will a full, Catholic mass as 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Immaculate of Mary Convent, located at 600 Doat St., Buffalo. The inauguration ceremony will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Villa Maria College. An on-campus reception will be held in Giordano’s honor immediately following the ceremony.
Delegates from a number of higher education institutions will join Villa Maria faculty, staff, trustees and other members of the college community in procession at this formal academic ceremony. In addition to Giordano’s inaugural address, the ceremony will include greetings from local area leaders and politicians as well as members of the college community.
A press release noted that, “Since taking the reins, Giordano has proven himself dedicated to college’s Felician-Franciscan mission and core values.”
“Dr. Giordano is the perfect person to entrust with the future of Villa Maria College,” said Catherine Grantier Cooley, chairperson of the board of trustees. “Since accepting the role of president, he has proven himself to be dedicated to upholding the college’s mission and its core values; this has been apparent in every decision he has made thus far. Not only has he demonstrated his commitment to the success and growth of Villa Maria as an institution, he has demonstrated his commitment to each student, faculty and staff member who is part of the Villa community. The board looks forward to continuing to work with Dr. Giordano for the remainder of his presidency, which is sure to leave Villa poised for success for years to come.”
In the relatively short time Giordano has led the college, it has made several significant strides. Of note, the successful launch of three new academic programs: flexible business, game design and computer software development. Each of these programs was developed in direct response to the demand for jobs in these fields both in the Western New York area and beyond. In addition, he oversaw the launch of the college’s scholarship eSports program, which has attracted a slew of new students who are interested in gaming competitively.
After his appointment as interim president in June 2018, Giordano immediately began working with the college’s five vice presidents and the board of trustees to create a new strategic plan, which will guide the college and its growth through 2021. In addition, he has introduced new models of governance at the college, nurturing a collegial atmosphere among the faculty and employees. Giordano has also engaged with several community leaders and elected officials to develop partnerships and support for the institution.
While his permanent appointment as Villa Maria’s fourth president came in March, Giordano has been a part of the Villa Maria community since 2005. He served as the vice president for academic affairs from 2012-18. During that time, he played a lead role in developing and implementing the college’s visionary plan, which resulted in major enrollment growth and increased retention, the launch of new academic programs and an honors program.
Furthermore, as the vice president for academic affairs, Giordano helped secure grant funding in support of student success, including a $1.8 million Title III grant. Throughout his time at Villa, Giordano has overseen all aspects of academic leadership at the college, has grown the number of full-time faculty, starting online learning, overseeing assessment, and significantly enhancing the college’s student success efforts.
Between 2009-12, Giordano served as the chairperson of the liberal arts department and was a faculty member in English from 2005-12. He was a visiting lecturer in English at Florida International University from 2004-05.
Giordano has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and philosophy from Binghamton University and both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in American literature from the Ohio State University. He successfully completed the Executive Leadership Academy of the Council of Independent Colleges and the Felician Leadership Institute in 2018.
Originally from Rochester, Giordano is married to Jennifer Desiderio, a professor of English at Canisius College, and has three daughters. The Giordano family resides in Snyder.
For more information, call 716-896-0700 or visit www.villa.edu.