Colelli Retires, Orlikoff Appointed as Interim Leader

After more than four years in the role, Leonard Colelli announced this week that he will step down as campus president of Potomac State College of West Virginia University on June 30, to serve as special assistant to Provost Joyce McConnell.

McConnell has appointed Dr. Jennifer Orlikoff, director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and associate professor at West Virginia University in Morgantown, as interim campus president as of July 1.

“Dr. Colelli has been an effective, results-oriented leader for Potomac State,” McConnell said. “His ability to get things done has been tremendously valuable over the last four years, not just for the campus community in Keyser, but for all of us working to effect OneWVU and to make our divisional campuses more clearly and thoroughly part of the institutional enterprise.”

The university will conduct a national search for a new campus president to succeed Colelli. For the immediate future, however, McConnell is confident that Orlikoff will provide exceptional interim leadership.

Jennifer Orlikoff
Jennifer Orlikoff

“Dr. Orlikoff is an experienced teacher, administrator and campus citizen,” McConnell said. “During her recent term as chair of our faculty senate, she demonstrated her ability to build consensus even on difficult issues and to take into consideration the concerns of many stakeholders on an issue. I know she will bring those skills to the interim role at Potomac State and help guide the college through this transition.”

Orlikoff has been a faculty member of French in the department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at WVU since 2008 and has held student support or administrative roles nearly as long. She is a visiting faculty member at the Royal University for Women in Bahrain and has led student trips both there and annually to several different regions in France. She was appointed to direct the university’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies in 2013 and recently coordinated a celebration of the Center’s 35th anniversary and the ceremony for the lifting of the Centenary Time Capsule.

“I am looking forward to working with the faculty, campus leadership, students and staff at Potomac State College,” said Orlikoff. “Having visited the campus on several occasions, I have been impressed by the wide range of programs PSC offers and the important contribution it makes to WVU’s mission. It will be a pleasure becoming involved in campus life and the Keyser community.”

Founded in 1901 as a “preparatory branch” of West Virginia University, Potomac State College was built on the site of a civil war fortress, Fort Fuller, and occupies 806 acres in a largely rural area of eastern West Virginia. Currently defined as a divisional campus of WVU, along with the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (commonly-known as WVU Tech), the college offers 57 associate degrees and three bachelor’s degrees. It enrolls approximately 1500 students, of whom more than 1200 are full-time, and employs 167 faculty and staff.

The college’s new dean of academic affairs, Dr. Gregory Ochoa, also steps into his role on July 1 and will work closely with Orlikoff to provide leadership for Potomac State College in the coming academic year.