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To accommodate enrollment demands that are reaching near-capacity levels on its 406-acre campus, West Chester University has created a new senior -level position to develop and manage off-campus educational opportunities for students.
Christopher Fiorentino, dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs, has agreed to serve as the University's first vice president for external operations with responsibilities for the creation and management of all off-campus educational locations, such as the University's new center city Philadelphia site at 7th and Market Sts., distance education programs and professional development studies.
In announcing Fiorentino's appointment, West Chester President Greg Weisenstein cited the dean's long and distinguished leadership of the College of Business and Public Affairs. "Under his direction, the College attained AASCB international accreditation, elevating its status as one of the premier business programs in the mid-Atlantic region," says Weisenstein.
During his 20-year tenure as dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs, Fiorentino not only made significant contributions to the University, but worked with public, private and governmental entities to help meet the workforce needs of the region.
He led a University research team that played a major role in the revitalization of the West Chester Borough business district and later was appointed a founding member of the West Chester Business Improvement District Authority. As chair of a blue ribbon task force, he recommended changes in the budgeting and financial management of Chester County's $350 million budget, which helped support the County's triple-A bond ratings.
The extent of his involvement, commitment and contributions to Chester County and the region are reflected in his former and current service on dozens of business and community boards, including the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry Accreditation Task Force, the Chester County Keystone Innovation Zone, the Historical Society, the Chester County Economic Development Council, the County Library system, the Hospital Corporate Development Committee, the County Transportation Management Association, and the County's Business Practices Committee, among others.
Through a creative funding strategy, Fiorentino established and successfully managed the University's off-campus 47,000 sq. ft. graduate business facility, now the University's graduate center.
Fiorentino has been behind the creation and funding of other highly successful University centers, including the Center for Social and Economic Policy Research, the Business Technology Center, the Internet Presentation Group, the Center for Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis and the Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. In addition to supporting faculty initiatives, the centers provide research and consulting services for local and regional organizations and businesses.
A graduate of Temple University where he received his undergraduate, master's and Ph.D. degrees in economics, Fiorentino joined West Chester's department of economics in 1983. Three years later, he was voted "Outstanding Business Professor of the Year" by the University's Society for the Advancement of Management. In 1993, he was appointed dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs, and in 2012, was also named associate provost.
Michelle Patrick, professor of marketing and the College of Business and Public Affairs' associate dean, has been appointed its interim dean.