PHILADELPHIA, March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — After 30 years of helping Peirce College provide Philadelphia’s working adults access to an affordable, career-oriented college degree in a variety of roles, President and CEO James J. Mergiotti has announced he will retire at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

During his tenure as the College’s seventh president, which began in 2009, Mergiotti has led the 151-year-old Philadelphia institution through an era of innovation that has challenged the status quo of higher education to provide opportunity for its students and fill workforce needs in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Under his leadership, Peirce became the first college in the nation to allow students across its entire curriculum to choose from week to week whether to attend class in person or online through Peirce Fit®. And, in 2016, Peirce launched the first competency-based education program in Information Technology in Philadelphia, which awards college credit based on the mastery of knowledge and skills, not hours spent in a classroom.

Under Mergiotti, Peirce added several academic programs built to offer its graduates valued credentials in the region’s most in-demand fields. Mergiotti also oversaw the introduction of Peirce College’s first two graduate degree programs—Organizational Leadership & Management in 2013 and Healthcare Administration in 2016. He led the expansion of Peirce’s undergraduate degree programs, with the addition of Accounting, Criminal Justice, Healthcare Administration, Health Information Administration, Health Information Technology, Integrated Leadership, Legal Studies in Business and Technology Management. The Health Information Administration program is the second baccalaureate program to earn accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) in the Philadelphia region.

Committed to creating synergy between education and workforce development, Mergiotti established the Office of Institutional Advancement and Strategic Partnerships, to build strong relationships between higher education and the region’s employers to ensure they are working toward mutually beneficial goals.

«Colleges and universities should be striving to create graduates with the exact skills and knowledge that are most in demand for the communities they serve,» Mergiotti said. «The future of Peirce College, and higher education as a whole, should be dedicated to understanding the evolving demands of the workforce and quickly adapting as necessary.»

In addition to expanding Peirce’s curriculum, Mergiotti championed collaboration with other entities and institutions toward the College’s mission of equipping adult learners to achieve their goals and meet workforce needs. Since 2013, the College has acted as the education partner to Year Up, a national organization that seeks to bridge the opportunity divide for urban young adults. Peirce and Year Up expanded their work into Wilmington this spring. In a new partnership with Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Peirce College is offering the first bachelor’s degree completion options ever delivered at the suburban Philadelphia campus.

Mergiotti’s was an unconventional path to a college presidency. During his 23-year career in the finance industry, Mergiotti initially spent 10 years as a member of the Peirce Board of Trustees. He joined the College’s executive leadership team under President Arthur J. Lendo as Vice President, Administration, in 1998. He was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2000.

During his tenure as President, Peirce’s investment portfolio doubled and its net assets increased by 23 percent.

«As I have been since 1988, I remain honored to be part of the Peirce community. I have had the extraordinary opportunity to work with an exceptional group of faculty, staff, trustees, partners and volunteers in support of the Peirce mission,» Mergiotti said. «We have accomplished a great deal on behalf of our students and alumni and will do even more together over the next 16 months. At that point, it will be a perfect time to begin the third act of my life and for Peirce to move forward with new leadership and the rejuvenation that change will bring.»

In his retirement, Mergiotti and his wife, Debbie, will remain in the area, spend more time with family, and focus on community service opportunities.

«The Peirce Board of Trustees is sad to see our dedicated and charismatic leader go,» said Board Chair Barbara A. Prutzman. «His leadership has inspired a culture of innovation and ‘high touch’ service for the working adult students we serve. Early positive results of our current strategic plan are laying the groundwork for the sustained progress of our mission for many years to come. We are grateful that Jim has provided us significant time leading up to his retirement from Peirce to find his successor.»

The Board will establish a search committee to identify the College’s next president and will hire an external firm to conduct a nationwide search to assist with the transition.

About Peirce College
Founded in 1865, Peirce College has been providing working adults with affordable education, flexible classes, and personalized support for more than 150 years. Peirce offers bachelor and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Legal Studies, and Master of Science degrees in Healthcare Administration and Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults through both online and on campus education. In 2015, Peirce took life-friendly learning and degree attainment to the next level with the creation of Peirce Fit®, a revolutionary learning format that allows students to choose each week whether to attend class in person or online. Through Competency Based Education in Peirce’s IT program, students may also choose a faster, more affordable path to a degree. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St. Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). Additionally, select programs are accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the American Bar Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

For more information about Peirce College, call 888.467.3472, or visit Visit Peirce’s blog, Peirce Connections, at Become a fan of Peirce College on Facebook. Follow @PeirceCollege on Twitter. View the Peirce College YouTube Channel.

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SOURCE Peirce College