March 25, 2024

Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to West Chester University President Christopher M. Fiorentino

West Chester University President Christopher M. Fiorentino (center, front row) receives Lifetime Achievement Award. Pictured (l to r, front row) are Kattie Walker, president, Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce; President Fiorentino; Joel Frank, board member, Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry; (l to r, back row) Steve Aichele, board member, Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry; Matt Tucker, board member, Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce; John O’Brian, executive director, West Chester Improvement DistrictDuring a recent celebration of his inspirational legacy, West Chester University President Christopher M. Fiorentino was awarded a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by Downtown West Chester, the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce. The tribute drew numerous members of the faculty, staff, as well as those from the Chester County region to the College of Business & Public Management to celebrate a university president who has proudly served West Chester University for 41 years.

“This Lifetime Achievement Award is a testament to a remarkable journey spanning over forty years,” read Executive Vice President & Provost (interim) Jeffery Osgood, Jr. on behalf of those representing Downtown West Chester, the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce. “A visionary leader and catalyst for positive change, Dr. Fiorentino has left an indelible mark through his service to the economic development of Chester County. His unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity, and preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow has not only shaped West Chester University, but also inspired countless lives. This award stands as a symbol of gratitude for a lifetime dedicated to greatness.”

The award was presented as a surprise to West Chester University’s 15th president. “I am deeply moved and humbled by this award,” said President Fiorentino in an interview following the presentation. “It has truly been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life to have served the Chester County community, our partners, our neighbors, as well as all the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who make West Chester University what it is today. Working together, we have shared in a vision of student success, and we have made a difference in so very many lives.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that the Chester County region and our community of educators have provided me over the years to help move forward West Chester University’s mission. It means more than I can possibly express to be recognized by my colleagues, my community, my neighbors, and my friends.”

The tribute and its setting were particularly fitting. Early on and prior to his role as president, Fiorentino helped WCU fulfill its mission to serve local communities and the Commonwealth as a source of knowledge and skill development, a research center, and a service provider. As dean of WCU’s College of Business and Public Affairs (now the College of Business and Public Management), he helped to secure AACSB accreditation for the School of Business; developed off-campus academic centers, including the Graduate Center in West Goshen Township; and worked with faculty and supporters to create the Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. He also spearheaded the development of the Center for Community Solutions, which links business and civic leaders who have research needs with University faculty and staff who can address those needs.

As president of the largest university within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Fiorentino has become known as a transformational leader who embraces challenges. He most recently led the University successfully throughout the pandemic and amidst a nationwide shift in high-school demographics, particularly in Pennsylvania. Today, West Chester University’s enrollment remains strong with more than 17,000 total students and having welcomed its largest incoming first-year class for the second consecutive time in 2023.

Under his leadership, the University continues to be recognized for its quality academic programs, accessibility, and affordability. WCU’s distinctions are many, including a recent change in its Carnegie Classification, moving the University from an M1 (a master's college and university) to one of only 133 R2 (doctoral university high research activity) institutions in the United States. Today, the new classification more accurately reflects the level of ongoing research across campus, while maintaining teaching as the number one priority for faculty. The University’s R2 status changed its categorization in U.S. News & World Report, moving WCU from a regional university to a national university and positioning it among the nation's most prominent academic institutions; the University is currently ranked #209 overall and #112 in top public schools nationally. 

The popular University maintains a consistent presence on both Money magazine’s The Best Colleges in America list and America’s Top Colleges list by Forbes. The University is also a military Friendly Schools gold status member and has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for four consecutive years.


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