President JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Biography
President Boyle has seen the transition of Seton Hill from a women’s undergraduate college of about 400 students to a coeducational university with an enrollment of over 1800. In addition to the baccalaureate degrees in arts, science and music education, under her leadership, the university has added graduate programs leading to the master’s degree in nine areas, including business administration, writing popular fiction, special education and family therapy. During Dr. Boyle’s tenure Seton Hill has strengthened its international programs of faculty and student exchange, established E-Magnify (formerly the National Education Center for Women in Business) and the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, opened a tourism and hospitality major with emphasis on the study of the heritage and history of western Pennsylvania and expanded programs in the natural sciences with emphasis for opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research on women’s health. Her most recent initiatives are focused on creating partnerships with local governments - municipalities, county and state - to use education and the performing arts as catalysts in economic development.
Past Chair of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Independent Colleges, Dr. Boyle is also a member of the Bishops Advisory Committee of the National Catholic Jewish Relations Secretariat and the Council of Presidents of the United States Division of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. She is the former Chair of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. She has served as a Merit Selection Panelist for the Office of the United States Attorney and for the United States Magistrate Judge for the District Court for Western Pennsylvania.
A former trustee of Sewickley Academy and the University of Pittsburgh, she currently serves as a member of the Board of Visitors to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She is past Chair of the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania, and is a former member of the association’s executive committee. Dr. Boyle is a member of the Honor Board of Directors of WQED Public Broadcasting where she served as the chair of the Education Committee. She is on the board of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and past president of the Westmoreland Society. She serves on the boards of the Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, The Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland County, The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and has been vice president and board member of the Women’s College Coalition.
In 1994, she was appointed by the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the Task Force on Higher Education Funding. She has been a member of the Timken Corporation Scholarship Selection Committee. She was the 1999 Distinguished Ethics speaker at Duquesne University and a presenter at the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
Dr. Boyle has been recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education as Pennsylvania Professor of the Year, and as a finalist for National Professor of the Year. She holds the Medallion of Distinction from University of Pittsburgh, and has been recognized by Nanjing University, China, for contributions to international education. In 1995, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an organization which she chaired for the past three years. She has received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the Sisters of Charity, the Juliette Gordon Low Woman of Distinction Award from the Westmoreland Girl Scout Council, and the Tribute to Women Award from the YWCA of Pittsburgh.
JoAnne Boyle grew up in Charleston, West Virginia where she worked from the time she was ten in the Boys and Girls Department of the Kanawha County Public Library. She received a B.A. in English and history from Seton Hill College where she graduated with honors. She was awarded a Master of Arts in the teaching of English by Harvard University and the Ph.D. in English by the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral dissertation was on the tradition of the international novel.
Dr. Boyle and her husband Arthur are the parents of seven children and thirteen grandchildren.
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