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Townsley Named Interim President at Albright College

Townsley Named Interim President at Albright College

by Albright College

Albright College’s Board of Trustees has appointed Debra Townsley, Ph.D., to a full-year position as interim president effective July 1, 2024.

With more than 40 years of higher education experience, Townsley has filled the roles of president, interim president, academic dean, department chair, and business professor at institutions in five states. Specializing in identifying and implementing a strategic vision and plan for long-term institutional success, she is a transformational leader with experience in controlling spending while increasing enrollment and fundraising.

“Dr. Townsley is a proven change agent with a track record of success in higher education turnaround efforts, increasing enrollment and enhancing fundraising. Her ability to plan strategically and her understanding of the current higher education climate have been pivotal to her achievements,” said Albright Board Chair Ron Scheese ’83. “During this time of transition, the board is excited to welcome an accomplished leader who is committed to Albright’s successful execution of our turnaround plan.”

In addition to authoring books and articles, Townsley has lectured on topics that include the state and future of higher education, external factors facing higher education and college presidents, and conducting a turnaround.

During her five years as president of William Peace University (Raleigh, N.C.), the university became co-educational and financially sound. She served as president of Nichols College (Dudley, Mass.) for a dozen years prior to William Peace, where she conducted two comprehensive campaigns, raising a total of $28 million. One campaign was the largest in the school’s history, and both exceeded goals by more than $2 million.

She has since created strategic plans and improved operations, systems, and financials as president of Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.Va.) and Laboure College (Milton, Mass.).

“Albright is a nationally ranked college with over 165 years of excellence in educating students for fulfilling personal and professional lives,” said Townsley. “I am excited to join the Albright community where students find their ‘spark’ — their passion to pursue purpose.”

Townsley’s business career began with IBM and Booz, Allen & Hamilton before making the switch to teaching at Marymount University (Arlington, Va.). Three years later, she was named assistant professor and chair of Northern Virginia Community College’s Accounting and Data Processing departments, and Assistant Professor of Business. She also served as director of undergraduate and graduate management studies at St. Michael’s College (Colchester, Vt.).