Students drive Wilkes President Patrick Leahy’s passion for higher education
By Vicki Mayk
Freshman Emily Absalom decided that Wilkes’ new president, Patrick Leahy, would be the perfect subject for her First Year Foundations class paper about leadership. What she didn’t expect was that her interview with him would become a two-way conversation about student life at Wilkes.
“He was very genuine,” recalls Absalom, a resident of Bangor, Pa., majoring in political science and psychology. “I noticed how many times he used my name in our conversation and how often he laughed. It’s very indicative of his personality. He really relates to people. At the end of the interview, he asked me how I felt at Wilkes, how the semester was going for me. I said Wilkes has a very homey feel and it’s a tight-knit community. He was very pleased about that.”
Such conversations are a priority for Leahy since becoming Wilkes’ sixth president in July 2012. Noting that the Henry Student Center, where students congregate, is his favorite place on campus – “I love the energy there” – Leahy calls students his number-one constituency.