While you may all know the man with the white collar and shades that wanders campus, Father Hogan, there’s another important figure at Duquesne who will be leaving us soon. President Charles Dougherty will be retiring June 30, 2016.
Dougherty, the campus’s 12th president, has served since 2001 by working behind the scenes on projects that have spanned fifteen years. Although he has received mixed reviews from students, faculty and Pittsburghers a like, the man has done a great deal of work for the University. As president, Dougherty has had a hand in virtually every change you’ve seen on campus, good, bad and ugly.
Under his term, Duquesne has seen an increase in enrollment while also bringing the selection rate from 97 percent down to 68. To cater to the influx of students, campus has expanded with the purchase of Brottier Hall, overhaul of the old Des Places to build a new dormitory and construction of the Power Center all under Dougherty’s watch.
But for every extension to Duquesne’s campus, cuts were made elsewhere. Men’s golf, wrestling, baseball and swimming where nixed in 2010 and the firing of men’s basketball coach Ron Everhart in 2012 left the team in a downward spiral. Even with faith in Jim Ferry, the program still has flaws and holes to work on. In addition, a number of Duquesne’s studio art classes were cut in 2012 and the campus’s NPR licensed radio station, WDUQ-FM (90.5 FM) was sold to WYEP for a measly $6 million in 2011.
On another note, a shooting on campus in 2006 and a nationwide controversy over adjunct unionization efforts, has forced Dougherty to stand tall for the University. Has he succeeded in that regard? Only time will tell.
Whether you’re a fan of the man or not, Dougherty has served this campus well and his actions are proof enough of that. Like any president, from a national position to a university setting, issues will arise as should solutions.
Did the man solve all of the University’s problems correctly? No. But a fact remains: Dougherty has always given students and faculty the option to voice their opinions.
From asking what students want from their meal plans to professor evaluations, there is always a way for a stance to be made, no matter the voice.
Regardless of who the new president may be come Dougherty’s exit next spring, one thing is for sure: they will have large shoes to fill.