Breaking new ground for the downtown, Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President of Wilkes University and Rev. John Ryan CSC, President of Kings College gave insight into their institutions’ ventures for improving the city of Wilkes-Barre. On Thursday, February 19, 2015, at the Westmoreland club, more than 50 community and business leaders met to hear about the improved relations between the two schools. This dialogue, hosted by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Speaker Series, gave many local business leaders and opportunity to ask the presidents questions in an open panel. The panel allowed both school presidents to make an impact on the businesses in the downtown area. Talking about the improvements and the expansion of the schools allowed the local businesses leaders to see the direction the schools will be going.
It is clear that mutuality and teamwork is a cornerstone to the relationship between the schools leaders. When asked about the event, and what Rev. John Ryan took away from it he happily stated;
“I think this dialogue reinforces good feelings and good ideas. Our destinies are linked. The well being of the city is what brings us all together.”
President Leahy felt that a mutual commitment with Father Ryan will lead to success.
“I am delighted alongside Father Ryan in stating our continued sustained mutual commitment in the redevelopment of the downtown, which can honestly be one of the great college towns in the US.”
President Leahy had spoken on a positive outlook for the area.
“Our efforts in the future will be a benefit to all the residents of Luzerne County and the benefit of our two colleges. It will be much more attractive for the students from our schools to come downtown.”
Moderating the panel was Wico van Genderen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber is excited to connect academic, business, and community leaders to hold important discussions. We must leverage the capital that exists – right here at home – to bring bold, exciting advancements that improve our region through strategic investment and partnerships. Dr. Leahy, Fr. Ryan, and their respective institutions are prime examples of this practice,” said van Genderen.
Opening the event was Peter Danchak, Regional President of PNC. PNC sponsors the Distinguished Speaker series and is an active member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. The Diamond City Partnership co-sponsored the event.