Taylor named 26th president

The University of Detroit Mercy recently announced that Dr. Donald B. Taylor will succeed Dr. Antoine Garibaldi as the school’s 26th president.

Taylor currently serves as president of Cabrini University, a Catholic school in Radnor, Penn., about 20 miles outside Philadelphia. His appointment is effective July 1.

Michael T. McNamara, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees and president of Hollingsworth, a supply chain management firm, announced the hire in late February following a months-long, nationwide search process. 

“On behalf of the entire Detroit Mercy community, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Taylor to our university and look forward to his leadership as we build on the momentum of the past decade and set new goals for the institution,” McNamara said in a statement. “Dr. Taylor’s accomplishments and extraordinary experience demonstrate a commitment to excellence that fits well with Detroit Mercy’s vision and mission, and we are confident that he will help the University achieve an even brighter future.”

A university spokesman declined to make Taylor available for an interview.

Taylor has three decades of experience in higher education leadership, according to a university press release. That includes the past eight years at Cabrini, where he became president in July 2014 and is known around campus as “DT.”

During his time there the school was ranked among the top 40 Most Transformative Colleges in the nation by Money Magazine, which is an indicator to showcase schools whose alumni report high levels of success.

He helped transition Cabrini from a college to a university in 2016.

Despite his accomplishments, the university has reportedly been steadily losing money, according to The Loquitur, Cabrini’s student newspaper. The paper, citing public federal tax documents, found Cabrini reported deficits of between $3 million and $6 million each year he served from 2015 to 2020.

Before Taylor’s appointment at Cabrini, he was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., from 2008 to 2014. At Benedictine, he also served as the inaugural dean of the College of Science, as well as chair of the department of biological sciences, and program director for the biochemistry and molecular biology program.

He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed abstracts, manuscripts, and reviews in scientific journals, according to a biography on Cabrini University’s website.

Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Memphis. He is 57 years old, according to The Detroit News.

He is married to Lechia Taylor, a nurse and certified case manager, whom he met in high school, according to The Loquitur. She credits him as having a positive influence on her life.

“I think he has pushed me to limits that I would have never have pushed myself to,” she said in a 2017 Loquitur article.

The two have a son, Seth, and have lived in Tennessee and Illinois prior to their current residence on Cabrini’s campus. The family plans to relocate to Detroit in the near future.

“It is a great honor, and I am humbled to be selected to serve as the next president of one of the great Catholic universities in our nation at this time in its institutional history, building from the tremendous success and momentum of President Garibaldi’s long tenure at Detroit Mercy,” Taylor said in the statement announcing his hire.