New system president announced, Daniel Mahony to take over in March

By Staff Report, News Desk

Daniel F. Mahony, president of Winthrop University in South Carolina, has been selected to serve as president of the Southern Illinois University System, according to a Board of Trustees press release. 

The SIU Board of Trustees will vote on his appointment during its Dec. 5 meeting on the system’s Carbondale campus, the release said.

See more: (SIU system presidential candidate has been selected by the committee, expected to be announced Dec. 5)


If approved, the release said he will begin his new responsibilities on March 1, 2020.

“I’m excited about working across the system to advance all of SIU,” Mahony said. “The level of commitment to the system’s success and to the welfare of its campuses is clearly strong, from the Board of Trustees to faculty and staff to community members, alumni and donors.” 

Mahony said SIU has a powerful impact on students and the SIU region, and that he looks forward to building on its strong foundation.

The selection follows a national search advised by a committee representing the system’s two universities, SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville, as well as representatives of the Board of Trustees and alumni and community members affiliated with the campuses, the release said.

Phil Gilbert, chair of the SIU board, said Mahony’s collaborative leadership style, strategic planning experience and effectiveness improving Winthrop’s financial position made him stand out in the national search. 

“Dr. Mahony is a proven leader and problem solver who has been described as a visionary in his professional experience,” Gilbert said. “He has had success in key areas of importance to SIU to include enrollment strategies, diversity and inclusion, improving finances and communicating effectively with internal and external agencies to include foundations and legislative bodies.”

Gilbert said Mahony will be an articulate advocate for the system and understands the importance of SIU to the region and state. 


 Ed Hightower, chair of the search advisory committee and vice chair of the board, said the committee valued Mahony’s commitment to open communication and his wide-range of varied experiences.

“Committee members liked many qualities about Dr. Mahony,” Hightower said. “They were especially impressed by his past successful academic work experience serving in a number of higher education administrative roles in Midwestern universities and that he has been able to create change at his current institution with large support of constituent groups.” 

Mahony is a respected, consultative leader who has demonstrated the ability to bring a community together around shared goals, Hightower said. 

“His emphasis on metrics to measure progress will be transparent and effective to move the SIU system forward,” Hightower said.

Mahony has been president of Winthrop University, a 6,000-student public institution in Rock Hill, South Carolina, since July 2015. 

He has overseen the development of a strategic plan, an institutional rebranding and improvement in student and employee satisfaction, according to the release. 

Under his leadership, Winthrop set a new record for freshman applications in fall 2019, exceeding the previous record by more than 15%. Graduate enrollment increased more than 16% this year, four-year graduation rates increased by 7.7% over three years, and the diversity of faculty and managerial staff increased from 14% to 21% in less than three years, the release said.

Prior to his Winthrop presidency, Mahony held positions at Kent State University in Ohio and  University of Louisville in Kentucky, the release said. 

 Before his academic career, Mahony worked in both public accounting and intercollegiate athletics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a masters in sport management from West Virginia University and a doctoral degree in sports management from Ohio State University.

The SIU System is made up of SIU Carbondale, including the SIU School of Medicine based in Springfield, and SIU Edwardsville, including the SIU School of Dentistry based in Alton. With a total budget of approximately $867 million, the system employs more than 7,000 faculty and staff who serve more than 28,000 students. 

 Mahony replaces Randy J. Dunn, who resigned from the position in July 2018.

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