PITTSBURGH, PA – July 14, 2016
Kenneth G. Gormley became Duquesne University’s 13th president on July 1, 2016, the third lay president in the university’s 138-year history.
A native Pittsburgher, nationally recognized Constitutional scholar, best-selling author and former dean of the school of law, Gormley brings a deep commitment to the Spiritan mission and tradition of community engagement.
“Ken Gormley is deeply committed to our Spiritan mission. For the past two decades, he has exemplified the mission through his interactions with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university,” says the Rev. Jeffrey T. Duaime, C.S.Sp., provincial of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit Province of the United States, and chair of the Duquesne University Corporation.
Gormley will be officially installed as president at the inauguration on Thursday, September 22, 2016, replacing Charles Dougherty, who retired June 30.
“It is the greatest honor imaginable to be selected to lead this special academic institution—Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit—to the next level of success and excellence,” says Gormley. “My wife, Laura, joins me in expressing our deep gratitude to the board for the faith and confidence it has placed in me in making this important appointment.
“For someone who grew up in Pittsburgh and continues to be in awe of the talented faculty, students, staff and alumni of this incredible university that has been an anchor of the region for over 130 years, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Gormley is a former dean and professor at Duquesne University School of Law. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977, summa cum laude; and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Gormley received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1980.
Following graduation from law school, Gormley served as senior law clerk in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. He then taught at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and later practiced law at the firm of Mansmann, Cindrich & Titus in Pittsburgh. He also served as a special clerk to Justice Ralph J. Cappy of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1990-91), and as executive director of the Pennsylvania Reapportionment Commission (1991-92).
In 1994, Gormley joined the faculty at Duquesne University School of Law as associate professor, and was promoted to full professor in 1997. He taught courses in Constitutional Law, Civil Rights Litigation, State Constitutional Law, Advanced Constitutional Law, First Amendment and a new inter-disciplinary course for undergraduate students titled American Presidents and the Constitution. He was appointed interim dean of Duquesne Law School in 2008 and was named the 11th dean of the law school in 2010.
During his 21 years at Duquesne, Gormley has served on the Editorial Board of Duquesne University Press (2001-2005); as associate vice president for Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Special Projects for the University (2007-2008); as chair of the President Search Committee for the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business (2012-2013); and as organizer of numerous high-profile programs featuring U.S. Supreme Court justices, the Attorney General of the United States, the President of Costa Rica, and other events that garnered national attention.
Gormley understands that his top priorities as president of the 137-year-old university will be to grow the endowment, complete a strategic plan for the institution’s future and make connections with local foundation, corporate and community leaders.
“My plan is to sit down with elected officials and the foundation and corporate community starting right away. It’s important to have these sorts of relationships,” Mr. Gormley said.
Gormley said he also is excited about raising the prominence of Duquesne’s programs to national and international levels and to shine a light on the research and other work of faculty and students that rivals that of those at top tier universities.
Gormley was named to the Office of Research’s “Hall of Fame” for obtaining grants and achieving success in fundraising (2010). As president of the law school, Gormley completed the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the school as part of its Centennial Campaign; hosted alumni events across the country; moved the law school up dramatically in U.S. News & World Report and other rankings; appointed more females to key administrative positions than any president in the history of the law school; worked with the university to obtain government grants and private funding to establish a free-standing law clinic— The Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education—in the Uptown section of Pittsburgh to assist poor and underserved clients in the region; worked collaboratively with the faculty to support its research and dramatically increase its scholarly output; and overhauled the law school’s curriculum, international programs and student organizations to better serve its students.
A renowned author, Gormley is the editor of The Pennsylvania Constitution: A Treatise on Rights and Liberties (Bisel 2004 and Supp. 2015). He authored Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation (Perseus Books 1997), which was awarded the 1999 Bruce K. Gould Book Award for an outstanding publication relating to the law. Gormley also published The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr (Crown 2010), a New York Times bestseller that received the American Bar Association’s prestigious Silver Gavel Award (Honorable Mention) as well as critical acclaim in the New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice), Washington Post Book World, and other publications. Gormley has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, The Charlie Rose Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, NPR’s Fresh Air, and hundreds of television and radio shows in the United States and worldwide.
Gormley has testified in the U. S. Senate three times, as well as in the Pennsylvania Senate. Gormley also served as president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, the first academic to hold that position in the organization’s 137-year history. From 1998-2002, he served as mayor of his community in Forest Hills, Pa., for a four year term.
He and his wife, Laura Kozler Gormley, have four children: Carolyn; Luke (a 2015 graduate of Duquesne’s Mylan School of Pharmacy); Rebecca (a 2016 graduate of Duquesne’s McAnulty College); and Madeleine.
As for his tenure, Gormley intends for Duquesne to continue, “to reflect the energy and creativity of the Spiritan tradition that founded this university back in 1878 marked by a commitment to serving God by serving our students so that they, in turn, can serve others.”