Wilkes University Says Goodbye to Its President

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- The president of Wilkes University will be leaving after this school year. as graduation approaches, Newswatch 16 spoke with him about his time at the university.

Students on the Wilkes University campus said goodbye to their president with smiles, high fives, and well wishes.

"He's always very interactive with the students. If we're just walking around campus and he sees us, he stops and says hi, he talks to us. Not a lot of people have that presidential presence on their campus," said student Stephanie Hauser

Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy is leaving the school after seven years to become president at Monmouth University in New Jersey.

"I'm feeling very sentimental, quite candidly," Leahy said. "I'm at once very excited about the new opportunity for me professionally and for my family personally, but I have such great memories and some great friends here in northeast Pennsylvania."

Leahy is credited with renovating the campus' greenway which helped Wilkes become a larger part of downtown Wilkes-Barre. He also says it was a goal of his to give his students all the amenities of a larger university.

"He made Wilkes a better place. Personally, for me, he founded the honors program here and I've been a member since my freshman year. I have a great scholarship because of him. He's just so nice and I really like what he's done with campus," said student Natalie Everett.

"All you have to do is walk this campus and meet our faculty and our staff members and the students that we have assembled here and I think you'd get a sense that this is a very special place and a place that is totally and utterly committed to student success," Leahy said.

Since Leahy has spent so much time in our area, we had to ask him what northeastern Pennsylvania food he would miss the most.

"I'll be honest, prior to coming here, I never had a potato pancake and I've come to love potato pancakes and I hope that whoever I go from here, I'll be able to find them, but I don't think they'll quite be the same," he smiled.

Leahy's last day at Wilkes will be at the end of July. The university's current vice president Paul Adams will step in as interim president.

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