New YCP president is Dickinson College alum, former Millersville University administrator

Ed Gruver//March 21, 2023

New YCP president is Dickinson College alum, former Millersville University administrator

Ed Gruver//March 21, 2023

Dickinson College alumnus and former Millersville University administrator Dr. Thomas Burns has been named President of York College of Pennsylvania. 

Burns will be the college’s fifth president and will replace the retiring Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith effective July 1, 2023. Smith announced her retirement last June following a nine-year tenure. 

Burns said in a statement that York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) represents “the best of what higher education should be – dedication to both the liberal arts and professional education in an environment where students are encouraged to apply their knowledge to help the community, while developing the skills that prepare them to be the next generation of competitive, flexible, and purpose-driven leaders.” 

A chemist and lifelong educator, Burns served as provost of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. from 2011 to 2022. He was responsible for overseeing academic affairs, enrollment, student life and facilities, reporting to the president, and serving in his absence as chief executive officer. 

Burns’ familiarity with Central Pennsylvania extends to 1991, when he graduated cum laude from Dickinson College with a B.S. in chemistry. In 2006 he served as associate provost for academic administration at Millersville University. In cooperation with the provost, he was responsible for the general education program, the First Year Experience, global e3ducation, and community and academic partnerships, among other duties. 

Burns was selected unanimously by trustees following a nine-month national search. A 19-member committee comprised of administrators, community members, faculty, staff, students, and trustees conducted the search. 

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome Dr. Burns to York College,” Board Chair Laura Wand said. “He is an innovator with a deep passion for private higher education. He is committed to student success, the College’s teaching-centric roots, and our strategic focus on experiential learning. Incoming President Burns possesses all the qualities necessary to take York College into its next ambitious era.” 

Wand thanked Gunter-Smith and recognized the outgoing president’s “extraordinary 10-year leadership of the institution, which has grown programs, student access and success, and community engagement. She has set up the institution for success for many years to come.”