March 26, 2014

United Way Worldwide CEO and President Brian Gallagher Delivers 2014 Boyer Lecture

Gallagher’s Lecture, “Transformational Leadership: Succeeding in a Complex World,” Celebrates the College’s Inauguration of Merodie A. Hancock as its Fourth President

photo of Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher is CEO and president of United Way Worldwide. Photo/United Way

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 26, 2014) United Way Worldwide CEO and President Brian Gallagher will deliver the 2014 Boyer lecture from 1 to 2 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at Saratoga City Center, in Meeting Room 1, as part of the inauguration of Merodie A. Hancockas president of SUNY Empire State College.

Gallagher’s lecture, “Transformational Leadership: Succeeding in a Complex World,” relates to the inauguration theme, “re-emergence,” which highlights Hancock’s career of advocacy for the re-emergence of nontraditional students.

Gallagher is credited with leading the transformation of United Way to focus on community impact, with a commitment to global standards for accountability, governance and transparency for the organization’s nearly 1,800 local affiliates in 41 countries and territories.

“I’m honored to be a part of Dr. Hancock’s inauguration and to participate in such a prestigious lecture series,” said Gallagher. “Dr. Boyer’s work and teachings, which are reflected every day at Empire State College, have great meaning for me. In many ways, they’re rooted in United Way’s own story.”

“On behalf of the Empire State College community, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome Brian Gallagher and to have him deliver this year’s Boyer lecture,” said Hancock, who served on the United Way of Isabella County (Michigan) Board of Trustees while she was vice president at Central Michigan University Global Campus. “I have long admired the work of United Way. In my view, United Way, as a large, multifaceted service organization, with global impact and local relevance, shares much with Empire State College. The collective experience of transformation and sustained excellence will inform our thoughts and actions going forward and it is why Brian was chosen to deliver this year’s Boyer lecture.”

About Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher is president and chief executive officer of United Way Worldwide, the world’s largest privately funded, nongovernmental organization.

Gallagher began his career with United Way in 1981 as a management trainee. He has held various positions in United Way offices around the United States and served as president of United Way of Central Ohio in Columbus, where he created the Family Housing Collaborative, which works to obtain low-cost housing while providing day care and job training to break the cycle of homelessness.

Gallagher was born in Chicago and grew up in Hobart, Ind. He received his bachelor’s degree in social work from Ball State University in 1981 and a master’s degree in business administration from Emory University in 1992. In May 2003, Gallagher received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from his alma mater, Ball State University.

About The Ernest L. Boyer Sr. Family Lecture Series

The Boyer Lecture Series was established in 2004 by Kathryn Boyer ’78, in memory of and to honor her late husband, Ernest L. Boyer Sr., chancellor of the SUNY System from 1970 to 1977, who was instrumental in the founding of Empire State College in 1971.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The lecture series also honors Ernest Boyer’s son, Stephen Paul Boyer ’86, now an adjunct mentor at the college’s Center for Distance Learning, grandson Gabriel Boyer ’04 and Kathryn Boyer ‘78.

About the SUNY Empire State College Inauguration of Merodie A. Hancock

Dr. Merodie A. Hancock

Merodie A. Hancock is president of Empire State College. Photo/Gary Gold

According to, “Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events,” (Case Books, 1999), by April L. Harris, “inauguration” refers to a set or series of events to mark the celebration of the installation of a new president. “Installation” is the moment the new president formally receives the presidential medallion, the official article of office. “Investiture” is the ceremony where the installation takes place.

Worn by the president on official and ceremonial occasions, the medallion is a replica of the official seal of the college.

The inauguration events began in early March with three open, online discussions, “Three Voices That Shape Our Vision: An Inauguration Celebration Webinar Series.” Free and open to the public, each webinar had between 75 and 90 participants.

The presentations focused on three quotes chosen by Hancock because of their relevance to the theme of re-emergence. The webinars were led by a distinguished scholar or practitioner in the field of higher education:

  • Saleem Badat, newly appointed program director of the International Higher Education and Strategic Projects for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former vice chancellor of Rhodes University, South Africa, discussed the quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela, from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, March 6
  • James W. Hall, founding president, Empire State College, discussed the quote, “Education is a seamless web: one level of learning relates to every other,” Ernest Boyer Sr., from 2-3 p.m., on Thursday, March 13
  • Elizabeth Minnich, senior scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities, discussed the quote, “All men by nature desire to know,” Aristotle, from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, March 20.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students average age 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

More information about the college is available at


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)