Inauguration Week celebrates presidency of Dr. Thomas J. Botzman

Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D.

Misericordia University will formally introduce Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D. as the 13th president of the institution of higher learning during a week-long series of events surrounding his Inauguration on Friday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. in Lemmond Theater on campus.

Dr. Botzman was selected during a national search and confirmed by the Board of Trustees and the Conference of Mercy Higher Education. He assumed the Misericordia University presidency on July 1, 2013.
Among those in attendance for his inauguration will be representatives from the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, where he taught as a Fulbright scholar periodically from 1992 through 1996, as well as delegates representing over 50 other colleges, universities and associations.
Dr. Botzman comes to Misericordia from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Md., where he served as vice president for business and finance and as a professor of economics since 2004. He was interim vice president for development and secretary to the Board of Trustees during the 2009-10 academic year.
Dr. Botzman previously served for 15 years as a member of the faculty at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where he held the posts of associate academic dean during the 2003-04 academic year and director of international studies from 1993 to 1997.
Selected as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2002, Dr. Botzman was recognized as an emerging leader in higher education and had the opportunity to participate in ACE’s highly regarded leadership and mentoring program. Dr. Botzman was also a 2011 participant in Harvard University’s Institute for Executive Management.
In addition to his 20 years of experience in academia, Dr. Botzman worked in industry prior to becoming a faculty member. He holds 12 U.S. patents.
The Inauguration Week will commence with the third annual Dr. Midori Yamanouchi Lecture Series at Misericordia University which will present Ishmael Beah, 32, a former child solider in Sierra Leone and a New York Times bestselling author, for the presentation, “A Long Way Gone: A Story of Redemption and Hope.” The lecture will be held on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.
A meet-and-greet and book-signing session for his book, “A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier,” will follow immediately after the presentation.
In his book, Beah chronicles how he was orphaned by the civil war in Sierra Leone, forced to become a child soldier and then how he struggled to regain his humanity and reenter the world. He fought for more than two years with the government army before UNICEF removed him from the conflict. After completing rehabilitation, Beah won a competition to attend a conference at the United Nations to talk about the devastating effects of civil war on children in his country.
Since then, he graduated from high school at the United Nations International School and went on to Oberlin College in Ohio. Beah has continued his advocacy work to bring attention to the plight of child soldiers and children affected by war around the world.
Tickets for the event are free, but seating is limited. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Misericordia University Cultural Events Box Office at (570) 674-6719. Remaining available tickets can be picked up at the lobby box office up to 10 minutes prior to the show.
During the lunch hour on Tuesday, Nov. 12, Dr. Botzman will take part in a student, faculty and staff culinary competition in the Metz Dining Room.
Inauguration Week continues on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the Banks Student Life Center as students, faculty and staff outline their service work abroad. Poster and slide presentations will highlight the volunteer work that Misericordia students, faculty and staff have done in the United States, Guyana, Jamaica, and in regional communities.
Students and faculty from the Department of English will read original poetry in honor of President Botzman from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library.
The University’s College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Sciences, and College of Professional Studies and Social Sciences will present the research and scholarly work of professors and students on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 3-5 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.
A free interactive cooking presentation by Father Leo Patalinghug, the founder and host of “Grace Before Meals” (, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Huntzinger and Alden Trust Rooms 218-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. A book signing will follow immediately after the event.
Father Leo, a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Md., established “Grace Before Meals” as an apostolate to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, PBS and The Food Network, sharing a message of hope and bringing people together one meal at a time. Father Leo is also known for defeating a world-famous chef in the cooking competition show, “Throw Down! With Bobby Flay.”
The Inauguration Ceremony will be held on Friday, Nov. 15 along with an Inaugural Liturgy involving friends and members of the Botzman family.
The Inauguration Day of Service and the annual Trustee Associates Gala and Inauguration Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 16 complete the week of events. President Botzman, students, faculty and staff will participate in a series of service projects for Habitat for Humanity, the Catherine McAuley House and Mercy Services in the morning. The Trustee Associates Gala in the evening recognizes friends of the University.
Misericordia University students will also be collecting nonperishable food items at each Inauguration Week event to benefit the Back Mountain and Noxen food pantries.
For more information about Inauguration Week events at Misericordia University, please go to or call (570) 674-6719. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.