Dr. Lynn Ortale, the new president-elect of Maria College, said she is “humbled” and “eager to serve as your future leader.” (Photo provided)
Dr. Lynn Ortale, the new president-elect of Maria College, said she is “humbled” and “eager to serve as your future leader.” (Photo provided)

The Maria College community gathered to officially welcome Dr. Lynn Ortale to campus as its sixth president on June 15. She will begin her role on July 1. 

Ortale and her family were welcomed by Maria College faculty, staff, students, Board trustees, and special guests Assemblymember Patricia A. Fahy, Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, and City of Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar.  

Ortale joins Maria College during a time of growth, both in terms of its campus as well as its program offerings. The college recently received official accreditation for its first graduate program - a master of science in Occupational Therapy, and announced the launch of its first fully online option with a bachelor of science in Nursing program. 

Thank you for your confidence in me in choosing me as your sixth president of Maria College,” Ortale said. “I stand before you humbled by your choice and eager to serve as your future leader. Mindful that we stand on the shoulders of the Sisters of Mercy, I pray that Catherine McAuley will bless us and watch over us as we begin this new chapter in Maria College.”  

She then offered Board Chairperson Dr. Mary Jo LaPosta a wood and brass desk compass as a symbol of the Maria College Strategic Compass and of their joint commitment in leadership. 

“Dr. Ortale’s career has been a commitment to assisting underserved and diverse populations while enhancing student life and co-curricular opportunities to strengthen the learning communities she led,” LaPosta said. “Ultimately, Dr. Ortale proved to be the strongest candidate based on her extensive experience in faith-based higher education, and her commitment to the success of the students, faculty and staff of those communities. Her ‘mission-in-action’ approach to leadership directly aligns with the core values of Maria College to provide career-relevant opportunity education to all that may benefit. We believe that Dr. Ortale is the most qualified candidate to lead Maria College into the future that has been so dramatically reshaped by the pandemic. We are confident she will increase opportunities for students while maintaining our Mercy identity and values.” 

Board Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee Giovanni Virgiglio said the decision to hire Ortale was an “easy” one. 

“Throughout every step along the way, President-Elect Ortale distinguished herself among a very diverse and talented pool of candidates,” said Virgiglio, who is also Albany Diocesan School superintendent. “From the stories she told on paper, to her semifinalist interview, and then of course her visit to campus, the feedback we received was remarkable and made our decision for the search committee, despite an arduous process, a very easy decision.” 

Ortale will replace Dr. Thomas Gamble, who has served as president for six years before announcing his retirement plans for the end of June 2022. 

Ortale comes to Maria College with more than three decades of experience in higher education administration in the context of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. For the past 13 years, she has served as vice president for Student Life at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania and is currently an adjunct faculty in DeSales University’s higher education administration graduate program in Center Valley, Pa.