West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino Inducted into Chester County Hall of Fame by Chester County Economic Development Council

CCEDC's Chester County Hall of Fame AwardL to R: CEO Gary Smith, Board Vice Chair Michael J. Hankin, Hall of Fame Inductee and West Chester University President Christopher M. Fiorentino, and CCEDC President and COO Mike Grigalonis. /Submitted Image

EXTON, PA — Just weeks ahead of his retirement, the beloved leader of the largest university within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education was inducted into the Chester County Hall of Fame by the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) on Wednesday night.

West Chester University (WCU) President Christopher M. Fiorentino was greeted by thunderous applause and an outpouring of emotion from more than 400 business and community leaders at the Phoenixville Foundry, where CCEDC holds its must-attend Chester County Hall of Fame event each year.

“President Fiorentino has always understood that success can – and should – be mutual for West Chester University and its surrounding communities, and his commitment to this goal is perhaps his most lasting legacy here in Chester County,” said Mike Grigalonis, CCEDC President and Chief Operating Officer.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Fiorentino. “This is truly shared recognition because we have worked together to provide opportunities to so many, to unite people through meaningful and intentional partnerships, as well as to strengthen the communities where we live. It’s a difference that we have made together. I have been fortunate that my career has involved getting up every day to do what I have loved the most in my professional life: serving students, our region and our Commonwealth. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.”

Fiorentino is the 15th president of WCU, leading the university through a nationwide shift in high school demographics as well as a pandemic, strengthening enrollment to more than 17,000 total students, and welcoming the largest incoming first-year class in 2023.

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Under his leadership, West Chester University achieved international AACSB accreditation for West Chester University’s College of Business and Public Affairs (now the College of Business and Public Management) in 2006. “We were determined to achieve the standards to ensure we had the curriculum to support the greater business community, and it has been a game changer for recruiting students and faculty, as well as taking the university in a different direction,” said Fiorentino.

Throughout his 41 years of service, Fiorentino and WCU have collaborated with CCEDC on more than two dozen key initiatives, including recent endeavors like the Business Resource Center in Coatesville, post-secondary education opportunities through CCEDC’s Project RECONNECT initiative, industry partnership advancement through the Innovation Technology Action Group (ITAG), entrepreneurship though CCEDC’s Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n) and ongoing participation in CCEDC’s Pennsylvania Global Business Advisors.

“Under President Fiorentino’s leadership, West Chester University has become a portal of excellence, bringing great pride to West Chester University alumni and distinguishing Chester County with an internationally acclaimed state university,” said Gary Smith, CCEDC’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is our pleasure to honor President Fiorentino’s 41 years of exemplary service.”

Fiorentino grew up in Langhorne and Levittown, Bucks County, with a father who was a World War II veteran and a mother who was a native of Barbados. Fiorentino’s life in Chester County began in 1983 when at age 29, he accepted a one-year position teaching economics at West Chester University that became a tenured faculty position and eventually Dean of Business and Public Affairs, less than a decade later.

“I loved teaching and didn’t expect to be an administrator, but I took that leap when I was asked, as dean, to put WCU’s business school on the map,” said Fiorentino “I knew it was a high-profile risk, with a lot of sleepless nights. But I have a sign in my office that says ‘Take some risks,’ and it’s something I try to instill in my leadership team and students.”

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Recent Chester County Hall of Fame inductees include Patti Brennan of Key Financial, Inc. (2023), Chris Annas of Meridian Bank (2022), James E. McErlane of Lamb McErlane, PC (2021); Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet of Victory Brewing Company (2020); Michael L. Pia of South Mill Champs (2019); Claudia P. Hellebush of United Way of Chester County (2018); Dr. Jerry Parker of Delaware County Community College (2017); W. Thomas Musser of The Tri-M Group, LLC (2016) and more.

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