Misericordia University’s new president, Thomas J. Botzman, Ph. D., took hammer and paint brush in hand to work side-by-side with more than 50 students, staff and faculty at three community service projects during the Inauguration Day of Service.
Dr. Botzman was inaugurated on Nov. 15 as the 13th president of the institution of higher learning. In recognition of the tenet of service instilled by the founding Religious Sisters of Mercy, he joined groups of campus volunteers at community service sites across the region.
Dr. Botzman joined the first team at a Habitat for Humanity home construction site in Wilkes-Barre. The group worked together on a number of different construction tasks at the single-family dwelling, including helping to measure and install sheet rock.
Dr. Botzman joined a second team of volunteers at the Catherine McAuley House, a shelter for homeless women and children operated by the Sisters of Mercy in Plymouth. He teamed with students and staff to paint interior walls and trim of the two-story building.
Dr. Botzman also met and had lunch with elementary and middle school students and their parents at the non-profit Mercy Services tutoring and child services center in Wilkes-Barre. The center is operated by the Commission for Economic Opportunity under the direction of Sister Lucille Brislin, RSM. The children presented a group reading of the Preamble to the Constitution and also read a storybook to him about spaghetti. The students enjoyed conversing with him in Spanish, one of the 16 languages that he spoke in during his Inauguration address.
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 were representatives from the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, where he taught as a Fulbright scholar periodically from 1992 through 1996, and delegates representing over 50 other colleges, universities and associations.