Lancaster Theological Seminary will hold its 194th Commencement at 11:00am on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Church of the Apostles, 1850 Marietta Avenue, Lancaster. The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Francine McNairy-Nelson, a member of the Semninary's Board of Trustees and retired president of Millersville University.
A Pittsburgh native, Dr. McNairy-Nelson's professional life started in social work. In 1973 she transitioned to what would become a 40-year career in higher education when she became a faculty member and administrator at Clarion University. In 1988, she was named Associate Provost at West Chester University. In 1994, she was selected Provost at Millersville University and in 2003, she was named the 13th President of Millersville University. She retired in 2013. As President, she was responsible for a $130 million budget and a university with 1,000 employees and 8,400 undergraduate and graduate students. During her presidency, Millersville was nationally ranked as one of the top regional public institutions of higher learning by U.S. News and World Report and listed in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges.” Millersville ranked as one of the top performers in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education with particular emphasis on four/six-year graduation rates and the recruitment and retention of highly-qualified faculty. She also successfully completed an $88 million capital campaign. Millersville University's library is named in her honor.
Dr. McNairy-Nelson has been active in national, state and local organizations. In addition to her service on the Seminary's Board of Trustees, she also is a director of the Lancaster County Community Foundation and Project Forward Leap, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the education achievement gap for disadvantaged youth. She holds a B.A., M.S.W., and Ph.D., all from the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management. She and her husband, Herbert A. Nelson, live in Lititz, Pennsylvania.