Esch moves from interim to permanent president at Bradford and Titusville

Following a recent trend, Pitt has gone with an internal candidate to fill the presidency of the Bradford and Titusville campuses.

Rick Esch, who has been serving as interim president since July 2021, was officially named president on July 1 of this year by Provost Ann Cudd.

Esch replaced Catherine Koverola, who served from 2019 to June 30, 2021, when she stepped down abruptly for “personal reasons.” Koverola now serves as interim director of the Center for African Studies in the University Center for International Studies and a special assistant to the provost.

Esch began his career at Pitt–Bradford in 1995 as the director of auxiliary services. In 1999, he was named chief business and administrative affairs officer and was promoted to vice president for business affairs in 2003. In 2012, he also was named vice president for business affairs at Pitt–Titusville. 

Similarly, Bruce Childers was named dean of the School of Computing and Information in April 2022 after serving as interim since July 2020. The School of Pharmacy’s new dean, Amy Lynn Seybert, who took over the role on July 1, also came from within the school. National searches were done for all three positions.

A new Pitt Business dean, Gene Anderson, will join Pitt in August from Syracuse University, and a new School of Nursing dean has yet to be named.

During his time as interim president, Esch has overseen the construction of the new George B. Duke Engineering and Information Technologies Building at Bradford and the renovation of the Broadhurst Science Center at Titusville.

His work during the COVID-19 pandemic was recognized in June 2021, with Pitt-Bradford’s Staff Recognition Award. He has represented the Bradford and Titusville campuses on the Chancellor’s Resilience Steering Committee and has worked closely with Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office. He also has collaborated with local, regional, and state agencies, including the McKean County and Crawford County Emergency Management agencies, UPMC and Bradford Regional Medical Center.

Esch is a board member and immediate past chair of Journey Health System, is president and a charter member of the Tuna Valley Trail Association, a board member and managing director of the Bradford Educational Foundation, and a board member and vice president of the Bradford Economic Development Corp. He also is a member of the McKean County Advisory Board at Northwest Bank, a founding board member and treasurer of the McKean County Community Foundation, and a board member of the Community Foundation of the Upper Alleghenies.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Pitt–Bradford and an executive MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business.

— Susan Jones


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