Michael Driscoll: Biography

Dr. Michael Driscoll in the Oak Grove

President Michael Driscoll's leadership of IUP is guided by a commitment to being a student-centered university. Students are empowered to become the world's transformative leaders through high-quality academic programs, strong support structures, and interconnected, hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom.

With an eye toward IUP's sesquicentennial in 2025, President Driscoll led the university community's adoption of a shared vision and two strategic plans one for 2015-20 and the other for 2020-25, the current strategic plan.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education praised the earlier plan for its inclusive process and for the number of university stakeholders engaged in developing the vision, the strategic plan, and the self-study for the reaffirmation of institutional accreditation—the ultimate stamp of approval, which occurs every 10 years.

Under his leadership, IUP celebrated raising $81.36 million during its Imagine Unlimited comprehensive fundraising campaign—more than $6 million over its $75-million goal. The campaign, which concluded in February 2021, six months ahead of schedule, included two one-time gifts, both made by IUP alumni, that were the largest in the history of the university: $23 million from John and Char Kopchick and $7 million from Tim and Deb Cejka. More than 22,000 donors gave through this campaign.

In October 2020, President Driscoll announced IUP NextGen, a plan to create a stronger, more student-centered university. At its core, IUP NextGen redefines the way IUP serves its students, reflecting student and marketplace demands, prioritizing and putting more resources behind what IUP does especially well, and giving students experiences they can't get anywhere else.

Both IUP NextGen and the 2020-25 strategic plan focus on leveraging IUP's strengths as a doctoral research university and its commitment to involving students in meaningful faculty research. President Driscoll's own academic research while a faculty member at Portland State University recently resurfaced as the 2020 SIGMICRO Test of Time award winner. This is the highest honor the organization gives an academic paper, recognizing that its influence is still felt 18 to 22 years after the paper's initial publication in a prior session of the International Symposium on Microarchitecture.

Following the tenets of the strategic plan and IUP NextGen, he has prioritized creating an inclusive, equitable, and diverse culture at IUP. This is happening through education and programming, offering cocurricular support for students from marginalized groups in their living and social opportunities, promoting financial and other support from IUP alumni and friends, and ensuring students have appropriate incident reporting and response options. President Driscoll formed the President's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion to enhance IUP's learning atmosphere. He also created the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement to reflect students' distinctive differences while acknowledging they become better leaders through direct experience.

As part of the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion, he also supports the importance of global understanding and exposure to international cultures.

IUP's international student population continues to be the largest within Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. At its peak, IUP was host to nearly 1,000 international students from more than 60 countries. IUP students also take advantage of study abroad opportunities with IUP's many partner institutions.

Under President Driscoll's leadership, IUP established a dedicated National Achievement Scholarship Office in 2019 to raise awareness about scholarship opportunities and to guide qualified students through the application process. IUP students have had decades of success in securing prestigious national and international scholarships: as of spring 2022, IUP had 21 Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship winners; 15 Fulbright award winners; 10 Freeman-Asia scholarship recipients; three Boren study abroad winners; and 11 Goldwater Scholarship recipients.

Open since 2014, IUP's Military and Veterans Resource Center assists veterans, active military personnel, and their family members in achieving their educational goals. President Driscoll established the center, in part, after research by a team of faculty members and students concluded that veterans successfully assimilate into civilian life and the college experience with unique support. Since the year the center was established, IUP has increased the enrollment of veterans and military-affiliated students by almost 70 percent. In the last several years, IUP has hosted more than 900 of these students.

In 2019, his administration established the University College to support students as they seek an academic path that will fit their career goals. The college is intended to meet students where they are, helping them get the most from their education right from the start. Students who have not yet chosen a major are called explorers—never undecided. Staff members and peer mentors in the University College work closely with these explorers through specialized courses, advising, workshops on study skills, and linked classes team-taught by professors from different departments.

In 2016, IUP opened its first new academic building in 20 years for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The building earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an honor shared by all of the university's recently completed residence halls.

In September 2020, IUP broke ground for John J. and Char Kopchick Hall, a $90-million, 142,536-square-foot facility that will showcase student and faculty work in science and mathematics and increase collaboration. Opening in fall 2023, the facility will be both state of the art and flexible, reflecting the best thinking of what will be needed for science teaching and learning in the next decades.

In 2014, President Driscoll formed the Indiana Area Collaborative Team to strengthen IUP's relationship with the local community, including government and business leaders and law enforcement agencies. The team initially helped address unsanctioned and out-of-control gatherings in the community. Now, it serves as a base for additional collaborative projects.

President Driscoll's interest in community partnerships is also reflected in his work as past chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Committee on Economic and Workforce Development. He played a lead role in writing a statement about the economic importance of universities in their home regions.

Currently the longest-serving president in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, he was elected in 2017 to chair its Commission of Presidents/Commission for the Universities and continues in that role. He is a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council and the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce. He formerly served as a board member of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh (an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference), and locally, Indiana Healthcare Corporation (now dissolved).

Before his arrival at IUP in 2012, President Driscoll served as the executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of Alaska Anchorage, a position he took after serving in various posts at Portland State University in Oregon. He earned his PhD in 1988, his MS in 1985, and his BS in 1983, all in electrical engineering at Michigan State University.

He and his wife, Becky, enjoy all the cultural and athletics events that IUP has to offer. They have two adult children and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bert.