On Dec. 1, Central Penn College welcomed interim president Melissa Vayda after Todd Milano, who had served as the college's president since 1989, announced last month that he was stepping down.
The college’s board of directors is initiating an executive search to hire a permanent president for the college, planning to complete the process within 12 to 18 months.
Previously vice president and chief academic officer at Central Penn, Vayda was responsible for strategic growth initiatives, academic oversight and accreditation. She also serves as a commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A graduate of Harvard’s Management and Leadership Institute, Vayda has a doctorate in organizational leadership from Argosy University, a master’s degree in American studies from Penn State University and a bachelor’s degree in American studies and sociology from Dickinson College.
Her published dissertation, “The Social Constructions of Gender Limitations in Higher Education,” reviewed the lives and career paths of women college and university presidents across the United States.
Milano will join the Central Penn Education Foundation as president emeritus and ambassador and “focus his efforts on friend-raising for the college,” according to a news release.
Milano first came to the college as financial aid director in 1975. Formerly Central Pennsylvania Business School, Central Penn evolved under his leadership into a bachelor’s-degree-granting college with locations in Harrisburg, Lancaster and Bethlehem and on-site degree completion programs with a number of partner institutions.
His parents, Bart and Jean Milano, planned and built the Summerdale campus, and Bart was the school’s president from 1969 until 1989, when Todd stepped into the role.
“His long-term commitment to Central Penn’s mission and his passion for wanting each student to achieve career success will define his legacy as president,” William Kobel, chairman of the Central Penn board of directors, said of Todd Milano.
Milano said he had been planning the transition for several years. He noted that Central Penn’s strategic direction calls for expansion into graduate degree programs and praised the board’s appointment of Vayda, who has been with the college for 14 years, to the interim role.
Vayda is married to Thomas Barberio, a psychologist with Harrisburg School District, and she has a 13-year-old son, Britton, and an 8-year-old stepdaughter, Anna.