Mauro to accept role at Alfred State

Biology professor aided in many of Gannon’s transitions


Nadya Makay

Steve Mauro, Ph.D., has had the goal to be president of a university for many years. Mauro will finally have this opportunity when he transitions to Alfred State University to take on this role.

Madeline Bruce and Destiny Gonzalez

Throughout the time he has known Steve Mauro, Doug Oathout, chief of staff and director of marketing and communications at Gannon University, knew that Mauro was destined to be the president of a university.

Oathout started working with Mauro in 2019 and said the two became close during the pandemic, as they both oversaw Gannon’s COVID-19 response discussing strategies and observations about the ongoing crisis.

Mauro even told Oathout about his future plans.

“He had planned to become a university president someday,” he said. “He will do well. I will, however, miss having him around.”

Mauro will be around for a bit longer, but not much, as he recently accepted the position of president of Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y. He’ll leave his current job March 25 and start his new one March 28.

Mauro started working at Gannon in 2013, when he was named dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences. In that role, he helped further develop the health sciences programs at Gannon.

“He helped us into the transition of what Morosky would look like and where we should be going relative to the health professions and sciences,” Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., said.

Mauro also helped launch Gannon’s Ruskin campus and helped with several important steps the university took.

“He has been here through several transitions in his role and at the institution,” Taylor said. “We launched Ruskin, and he was a huge part of that. We realized that auxiliary revenue and being more entrepreneurial and thinking differently about how a university works was critical to our ongoing success.

“He helped us through those transitions as interim provost but then came back as the vice president for academic administration and the vice president for strategy and communication. He really made us think about how a university could work, should work, and how Gannon can become entrepreneurial.”

One big transition Mauro guided the university through was the COVID-19 pandemic. He established the COVID-19 surveillance protocol and testing lab and, with the help of students and lab assistants, kept it running for the last two years.

Mauro cites his background in biology, as he holds both a bachelor’s and a doctorate in the subject from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“When we came to find a need for COVID-19 surveillance and testing people for the presence or absence of COVID, I had a good idea of how to do that,” Mauro said. “I read the CDC manual for that. I understood the technique and the methods, and I thought ‘We can do this.’”

With this undertaking, Mauro went back to his roots – in the lab with students. Working hand-in-hand with senior biology and public health major Austin Hertel, he worked to establish the COVID-19 surveillance lab on campus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 testing of the Gannon community.

To Hertel, Mauro had a profound impact on his life as a student and future professional.

“At that time, I was looking to help ease the burden of the pandemic in any small way I could,” he said. “Even more, I wanted to get a research experience. Now, we have a fully operational laboratory with several students and a technician, which has been pivotal in keeping Gannon and the Erie community safe, while providing incredible research experience for not only myself but several other students.”

According to Hertel, Mauro was by his side every step of the way during the process of establishing the surveillance lab and helped when Hertel became uncertain about what they were doing.

“I knew the stakes were high and that we needed to validate the service as quickly and accurately as possible,” he said. “I was quite intimidated and nervous but refused to back away from the challenge. Dr. Mauro was in my corner every step of the way.

“One time, he said to me, ‘I am going to throw you into the water and let you swim. You might even struggle, but I will never let you drown.’ Nothing has ever been truer in my time working with Dr. Mauro.”

The dedication Mauro showed to Hertel and the other students parallels what Taylor said is his unwavering ability to transform the lives of students.

“He has been intimately involved in getting the campus to think about student success and how student success is the most important thing and the reason why we’re here,” Taylor said. “He’s taught classes. He’s been an adviser to students, even though he was a vice president. He’s worked directly in research and in labs and operations with students and helped them develop as leaders and develop their skills, as well as their humanity.”

According to Mauro, Gannon taught him the truth behind the statement that the university transforms lives and inspires that transformation.

“I’ve been inspired by so many here,” he said. “Dr. Taylor has been a great friend, the leadership team has been highly collaborative, and the opportunities to take on different roles have allowed me to grow and develop.

“I truly have been transformed through the process and my time here at Gannon.”

Outside of Gannon, Mauro enjoys time with his family, whom he describes as energetic and excitable. Although as the vice president for strategy and campus operations his schedule has tended to be busy, he has prioritized spending time with his family and cooks meals for his wife and two children on the weekends.

Mauro also has an affinity for physical activities and completed several adventure races, including an IronMan competition in 2020, which he said took 16 hours to complete.

“Working out allows me to clear my head and be one with myself,” he said.

Mauro will remain at Gannon until late March, but he said he’s excited to see how his new college works and functions.

“I want to continue to be impactful for students and continue to shape higher education,” he said, “and I look forward to the opportunity to apply all of the lessons and strategies I’ve learned over the years at Gannon.”

Madeline Bruce and Destiny Gonzalez

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