Mercy University Celebrates Inauguration of Susan L. Parish as its 13th President

President Parish receives the President's Medal at her inauguration

President Parish receives the President's medal from Joe Gantz, Chairman of the Mercy University Board of Trustees.

The ceremony capped a week of festivities for President Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., M.S.W., who takes the helm as Mercy University welcomes a record-breaking number of new students this fall.

Dobbs Ferry, New York – Mercy University today formally inaugurated its new president, Susan L. Parish, Ph.D. M.S.W., as the institution’s 13th President. Nearly 400 guests including students, faculty, staff, alumni, Mercy Trustees, elected officials, college and university delegates and community partners attended the inauguration ceremony, held on Mercy’s Westchester Campus and livestreamed on its website. The ceremony capped a week of festivities for President Parish, who takes the helm as Mercy University welcomes a record-breaking number of new students this fall.

In her inaugural address, President Parish laid out her vision for Mercy University, which was a call to arms to greatness.

“We must become radically student-centered,” said President Parish. “Doing so means making sure every student has an extraordinary experience and enjoys a true sense of belonging here. This approach offers our best chance to double our on-time graduation rates. This means every student, every encounter across all three campuses – no exceptions.”

“This is a milestone in our history,” said Joe Gantz, Chairman of the Mercy University Board of Trustees, who presented Dr. Parish with the President’s Medal. “In the past we said, ‘This is Mercy’s Moment.’  Today, we proclaim ‘This is Mercy’s Time!’ Just as we make it possible for our students to write their own stories, today’s inauguration of Susan Parish is a chance for Mercy University to continue writing its story of providing transformational education for nearly 75 years.”

“Susan Parish is a remarkable individual who embodies the traits of a strong and productive university president,” said Carmenita D. Higginbotham, Ph.D., dean of the School of Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University and Special Assistant to the Provost for VCUarts Qatar, and a colleague of President Parish. She brings to her position a clarity of purpose and transformative leadership, representing what we critically need in higher education at this time.”

Parish began her presidency at Mercy University on July 1, 2023. Since assuming her role as president, she has met with hundreds of Mercy stakeholders, including faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners, and has participated in dozens of student, athletic, alumni and community events.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer issued a proclamation in President Parish’s honor, which was presented to her during the inauguration ceremony.

“It is with deep sense of respect that I join with Deputy County Executive Kenneth Jenkins, in welcoming Dr. Susan Parish to Mercy University and Westchester County,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer wrote in the proclamation. “Her remarkable career in education and research exemplifies her leadership and educational prowess, which makes her an ideal president for Mercy University.”

Mercy University faculty, alumni and student representatives gave remarks during the ceremony to officially welcome President Parish.

“We eagerly anticipate the energetic, enthusiastic and excellent leadership of president already guiding us with a source of inclusion, support of the faculty and students, a willingness to listen and not be afraid of change,” said Matthew Hyland, Ph.D., associate professor, physical therapy and president of the Mercy University Faculty Senate

“The foundation for my success was laid at Mercy, and I’m sure that the current crop of students will also blossom under President Parish,” said Phillip Grant, M.B.A. ’08, CEO of Hunts Point Produce Market. “We look forward to the evolution of our beloved school under her leadership.”

“I look forward to working with President Parish to make Mercy even better for all students” said Rita-Marie Masi, ’26, Student Government President. “On behalf of the student-body, welcome to the Mercy family and congratulations on this new beginning.”

The President enjoyed a full slate of activities this week as part of inauguration to introduce her more fully to students, staff, faculty and alumni.  On Saturday, September 23, she will join the Mercy community at the annual Founders’ Festival on the Westchester Campus.

To watch the video of the inauguration ceremony click here.

President Parish walks out during the recessional after her inauguration



About Mercy University 

Mercy University is an independent, coeducational institution serving more than 9,000 students each year across campuses in Westchester, the Bronx, Manhattan, as well as online. It is a federally designated minority-serving institution and the largest private Hispanic Serving Institution in the state of New York. Mercy offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificate programs within six schools: Business, Education, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The institution also provides non-credit courses and certificates for adult learners looking to acquire new skills through CERTiFi by Mercy University. Mercy was founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy whose mission of transformative education remains strong. For more information, visit