James J. Mergiotti

James J. Mergiotti

President & CEO

2009 - 2018

Peirce College has a long history of providing a personal and supportive learning environment for its students, and that tradition continued under President James J. Mergiotti. Mr. Mergiotti’s affiliation with Peirce began when he became a member of the College’s Board of Trustees in 1988. Ten years later, he was hired as Vice President, Administration and in 2001 was asked to oversee college operations as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Finally, Mr. Mergiotti became the College’s president on July 1, 2009. He retired on April 13, 2018.

Mr. Mergiotti credits his predecessor with focusing the College’s mission as a leading provider of higher education for working adults. In 2009, it became Mr. Mergiotti’s job to enhance Peirce’s positioning in fulfilling that mission. “It was a ‘good to great’ opportunity. We already had a quality institution with a well-defined niche,” he recalls, “but we needed to advance in a number of ways.”

In 2010, Mr. Mergiotti led the development of a new five-year strategic plan for the College to make Peirce the first choice for career-oriented, non-traditional college students seeking high-quality teaching and support services. His finance MBA from LaSalle University, bachelor’s in accounting from St. Joseph’s University and 35 years of leadership experience in higher education, banking and public accounting made him the ideal candidate to lead Peirce in creating and executing this strategy.

“Peirce has been an unsung hero in this community for quite awhile.”

Connecting With Students

Upon becoming the school’s ultimate leader in 2009, Mr. Mergiotti’s first priority was to strengthen the bonds among all facets of the College’s community: students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees and corporate and institutional partners.

“Service is about establishing and fostering relationships,” Mr. Mergiotti said at the time. “A single person, group or constituency will not make the difference. It requires a bonded community -- all stakeholders working in concert.”

To encourage success, Mr. Mergiotti’s vision also called for personalizing the Peirce student experience. He did so by ensuring that the College delivered high-quality programs and services through a focused faculty and staff dedicated to providing exceptional teaching, service and support to all students.

Mr. Mergiotti’s strong advocacy for relationship-driven academics drove him to establish a robust sense of community and a welcoming environment around Peirce’s halls. In fact, he was regularly spotted standing outside his office greeting students, faculty and staff members as they entered the College’s Center City, Philadelphia campus on a daily basis.

It should be noted that as an innovative institution, not all Peirce students set foot on Peirce’s physical campus. Many experienced Peirce virtually. Mr. Mergiotti played an integral role in the pioneering of Peirce Online, which established the school as one of the first institutions in the United States to offer full degree programs in an online format. Since then and still true today, one of the unique aspects of Peirce is that its entire curriculum is available in both on-campus and online formats, which are interchangeable. Most notably, today, students can switch between online and on campus learning every week with the Peirce Fit® model.

Connecting With Alumni

While developing strong relationships with current students was important to Mr. Mergiotti’s strategic vision, he also re-established a deep connection with the College’s former students.

Early in his presidential tenure, Mr. Mergiotti identified Peirce’s alumni as a group that had “great affinity and pride for this institution and represents the College’s best ambassadors.” He identified more ways to engage alumni to advance the College’s strategy. This philosophy represented a renewed, more strategic approach to alumni relations.

Connecting With the Community

Peirce has served the needs of working adults and employers in the Greater Philadelphia Region since 1865. In that time it has infused the workforce with educated professionals ready to take the next steps forward in their careers.

At the onset of his presidency, Mr. Mergiotti saw a need for Peirce to better connect with the Philadelphia business community to ensure that, through a Peirce education, students would gain the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their career goals. To this end, President Mergiotti positioned Peirce with “a seat at the table” through connections with myriad regional and national organizations focused on increasing economic growth. He strongly believed in Peirce doing its part to reinvigorate the Philadelphia workforce with career-minded professionals and was dedicated to Peirce College’s curricula aligning with what area employers valued most.

“Peirce has been an unsung hero in this community for quite a while...reaching thousands and thousands of people every year,“ said Mr. Mergiotti in December 2014 on the eve of Peirce’s year-long 150th birthday celebration. “And not only impacting them, but impacting their families and their communities by building success for them. I think it’s just an incredible legacy.“

Many students who’ve discovered Peirce have echoed its "hidden treasure" quality. One of Mr. Mergiotti’s objectives as president was to mobilize the College’s entire staff and faculty to substantially elevate the Peirce brand and expand its reach so this treasure would no longer be a regional best kept secret.

During his presidency, Mr. Mergiotti extended Peirce’s portfolio to offer new undergraduate programs like criminal justice studies, healthcare administration, accounting, and human resource management as well as its first master’s degree offerings in organizational leadership & management and healthcare administration. He also led the College’s most robust efforts to connect with regional influencers and key organizations to advance their knowledge of Peirce as a provider of practical, career-oriented education for working adults.

Connecting With Peirce’s Future

With the need for a new strategy looming in the spring of 2014, Mr. Mergiotti again took the helm in the creation of a new plan for the future. A new three-year strategic plan was launched in early 2015 and focused on adapting to student needs through innovative education models, like intensive courses and interchangeable delivery modes – Peirce Fit® and competency-based education – to facilitate equipping adult learners with the skills they need to find success in the workplace.

Mr. Mergiotti announced his retirement in 2017 and officially retired on April 13, 2018. He served Peirce for 30 years, overseeing some of the largest innovations in the College’s history.

Shortly before he retired, as he reflected on what brought him to Peirce, he recalled that right from the start in 1988 Peirce “just won me over…it just won my heart.“

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