Executive Vice President DiStanislao to leave university

Mary Distanislao. Photo courtesy of Penn Athletics.
Mary Distanislao. Photo courtesy of Penn Athletics.

Executive Vice President Mary DiStanislao told her staff Wednesday she will leave Marquette in order to “pursue leadership opportunities outside of the university,” according to a university news brief Thursday.

“I really appreciate having had the opportunity to work with so many people committed to such a meaningful mission,” DiStanislao said in the news brief. “As the university begins its presidential transition, this is a natural time for Marquette to evaluate its leadership team moving forward, and it also allows me to step back, reflect and pursue future career possibilities. I want to thank everyone who contributed to our important work to move the university forward.”

DiStanislao was hired by departing University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz in January 2012 after previously serving as senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator at the University of Pennsylvania. She assumed her full-time duties as executive vice president in March 2012.

Brian Dorrington, senior director of university communication, said no additional details concerning DiStanislao’s departure or future plans are available.

“What we know is what she shared — that she is leaving her position to pursue other opportunities,” Dorrington said. “As a university, we are focused on our future.”

As executive vice president, DiStanislao oversaw university administration and staff, student affairs and strategic planning.

The Rev. Robert A. Wild, who assumes his duties as interim president Oct. 16, will work with Interim Provost Margaret Callahan, the academic deans and vice presidents to “ensure continuity of the university’s operations and strategic plan moving forward,” according to the news brief.

It was also announced in the brief that Tom MacKinnon, Pilarz’s chief of staff, left the university last week as well. MacKinnon was also Pilarz’s chief of staff while Pilarz was president of the University of Scranton.

The position of executive vice president was originally created in 1956, but was discontinued in 1970. It was reestablished in 1974, but again discontinued in 2002 with a revised structure of university administrative and academic leadership. Pilarz then reintroduced the position with the hire of DiStanislao.

DiStanislao told the Tribune in April 2012, a month after assuming her duties at Marquette, that what initially drew her to the university was “Pilarz’s energy.”

Pilarz’s resignation was announced to the university via email Sept. 20. He cited concern for his father’s health and a desire to do more more teaching, research and writing” as his reasons for leaving the university.