Students and faculty comment on Dr. Taylors departure


Greg Wohlford/ Erie Times-News

Dr. Taylors announcement shocks most of Gannon community.

Charlize Harding, News Editor

On Aug. 26, Gannon University announced that President Keith Taylor, Ph.D. is stepping down from the presidency effective June 2023.  

Though Taylor is leaving the presidency, he is not leaving the university completely. He will continue at Gannon in a capacity that is yet to be determined by the Board of Trustees.  

The news was not a shock to Taylor or the Board of Trustees, but it was to many students and staff.  

Students and staff are sad to see Taylor go as president. 

Aubree Etling, sophomore physician assistant major, said she was initially surprised.  

“He is such a staple to the university, so it is going to be strange not seeing him around campus,” Etling said. “Anywhere you go, whether it be to a sporting event or an event supporting the community, Dr. Taylor is always there.” 

However, Etling said she understands the decision. 

“I am sure he will be around campus attending events even after he steps down because it is very clear that he loves the university and the Erie community,” Etling said. 

Addison Price, a senior public service, and global affairs major said she expected Taylor to remain president for years to come.  

“I do feel excited about the prospect of someone new coming in with new ideas,” Price said.  

Jennifer Popa, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the English department, said she knows Taylor’s departure has the possibility to usher in new things for Gannon.  

“The university is never stagnant,” Popa said. “It is always alive with change and functions as its own little ecosystem. Academics also do not always stay put, so I assume that the only thing I can rely on is change in higher education. And often, change pushes us in meaningful ways. It is the end of an era as Dr. Taylor moves along, but I am excited to see what will come for Gannon as our ecosystem evolves. There is a lot to be excited about.” 

Aaron Kerr, Ph.D., an associate professor in the philosophy department, said he was also surprised with Taylor’s announcement.  

“I had heard rumors of course but had no idea that Dr. Taylor would announce it at the community meeting,” Kerr said. “He gave his report to the community, accentuating positives but also pointing out the arc of concerns moving forward — but then he began talking in a more sentimental tone, and I began to realize that there was something happening here. It was very authentic, surprising and sort of bittersweet, since he shared from his heart but also shared, he and Mary Jean were moving on.” 

Kerr said Taylor’s leadership was essential to the university – especially in navigating COVID-19.  

“All college presidents are exceptionally busy and working many angles at once,” Kerr said. “I can only imagine how stressful it was during the pandemic, but I have shared with Dr. Taylor my appreciation for his leadership through that stressful time — I think if Gannon had not been involved in developing service standards for employees, the pandemic may have looked very different for Gannon education.” 

However, Kerr is also hopeful for what’s to come.  

“I look forward to an open visionary who seeks to collaborate with faculty by understanding our new context in the classroom as well as the research aims of faculty,” Kerr said. “I look forward to a president who takes risks based on what is right for the community and higher education in general. I think Dr. Taylor has gotten Gannon to a very strong place where we stand out as a comprehensive liberal arts experience — I hope the next president can build on that in innovative ways.”  


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