President Melby announces retirement for July 2022

Under the leadership of President Diane Melby, EdD, OLLU has doubled annual fundraising, distributed more than $1 million in emergency aid to students, built an $18 million residence hall, expanded online programs and acquired land to build a $7 million Center for Children and Family.

When she assumed office in July 2015, Dr. Melby pledged to uphold and honor the charism of OLLU’s founders, the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, while leading the university into a “new age.” Having fulfilled her pledge, Dr. Melby has announced that she will retire on July 15, 2022.

The announcement recalls a promise made upon her arrival. Dr. Melby said she would lead OLLU for six or seven years, retire and return to the family home in Virginia with her husband, David Melby. 

“In my 43-year career, I had often missed out on family time to attend to the needs of work,” Dr. Melby said. “I did so only because I had Dave. Not only did he tend to our children, he stepped up to help my siblings and parents whenever they needed support. I will be forever grateful to him for all the experiences that he was able to provide our girls, even when the responsibility of those experiences was solely his.” 

Before arriving at OLLU, Dr. Melby served as Vice President for Advancement at Shepherd University in West Virginia and Dean of the School of Continuing Education at Shenandoah University in Virginia. 

Since succeeding Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, PhD, as the ninth president of OLLU, Dr. Melby has provided strong leadership, even during difficult times. She has overseen growth in freshman enrollment and retention, a $5 million increase in the endowment and the construction of new facilities on campuses in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. In spite of COVID-19, OLLU has avoided involuntary layoffs.  

“When I first spoke of the ‘new age’ six years ago, I did not foresee the pandemic nor the seismic shift that it portends,” Dr. Melby said. “It is said that biblically, seven is the number of completeness. While I cannot say that our work is finished, I can say that we are on the cusp of another advent. And that what we have accomplished provides the foundation for our future.”

Over the next 14 months, Dr. Melby will focus on fundraising, capital improvement projects and advancing on-going initiatives. She will support the Board of Trustees as OLLU transitions to a new president.

The Board will conduct an inclusive, national search for Dr. Melby’s successor. Trustee Steve O’Donnell and Vice President for Administration Rosalinda Garcia will lead a search committee representative of faculty, staff, students and Sisters of Divine Providence. A national consultant will guide the process.

“It is a great joy to serve the OLLU community,” Dr. Melby said. “I look forward to the 2021-2022 academic year and all that is on our agenda. So, no goodbyes yet. There is still work to be done!”

To read President Melby’s letter to the OLLU community, click here.