Gerard J. Rooney
President, St. John Fisher College
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is to treat people with respect and to listen to their individual perspectives.
What’s been your biggest success?
Personally, I am most proud of my family. They will always be my biggest accomplishment in life. Professionally, and most recently, I am very proud of the success of the Fisher community — our students (and their families) and employees — for our collective handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we effectively adapted our campus living and learning environments to meet our current needs and accomplished several strategic priorities that continue to advance the college. We have also kept a focus on serving our community, helping to meet the needs of others during this challenging time.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
I have benefitted from the mentorship of many people throughout my career, but without question, the two people I consider my most impactful mentors in preparing me for my current role are the two immediate prior presidents of Fisher — Dr. Katherine Keough and President Emeritus Dr. Donald Bain. I had the opportunity to observe their individual leadership styles, understand their perspectives on strategic issues, and benefit from their good counsel, practical advice, and career guidance. Their belief in me is one of the reasons that I am the leader that I am today. I am grateful to them both.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
My hope is that we are able to come together as a community and focus on addressing the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. It has never been more important for higher education institutions and leaders to work together in partnership with Rochester’s residents and organizations to bring about progressive solutions and change. More immediately, my hope for the broader Rochester community is that we emerge from the pandemic stronger, healthier and more unified in the areas that so often divide us.