Holy Family University president to retire after 32-year tenure

DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO The city's longest-tenured university president, Sister Francesca Onley, will leave the Northeast Philly school after 32 years.
DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO The city's longest-tenured university president, Sister Francesca Onley, will leave the Northeast Philly school after 32 years.
Posted: January 15, 2014

HOLY FAMILY University announced yesterday that president Sister Francesca Onley will retire in June after 32 years leading the Northeast Philadelphia school.

Onley, who was the longest-tenured university president in the city, was inaugurated as the school's fourth president and chief administrative officer in 1981, the university said.

"I feel so privileged to have been able to play a role in Holy Family's tremendous transformation from a college to a university, from a small, local private school to one with students from other states and other countries," said Onley, a 1959 graduate of the school.

Under Onley's leadership, the private Catholic institution of about 3,500 students achieved university status in 2002 and added a second campus in Bucks County. It also completed several buildings on its main campus in the city's Torresdale section, including the Campus Center, the Education and Technology Center and the Garden Residence.

"We will never be able to thank Sister Francesca for her unparalleled leadership for the past three-plus decades," said Dennis Colgan, chairman of the university's board of trustees. "Her retirement marks the end of an era, yet because of the path she forged, we look to the future with great optimism."

An outside firm will conduct the search for Onley's successor from the Catholic order that founded the school in 1954, the school said. A replacement is expected to be named by July 1.


Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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