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Widener University names new leader to key external engagement post

Welcome Uva Coles

Uva Coles comes to Widener from Peirce College in Philadelphia.

Widener University is pleased to announce the appointment of Uva Coles as associate vice president for Civic and Global Engagement. Coles, of Wilmington, Del., has extensive experience in higher education leadership.

As associate vice president, Coles will lead the university’s efforts related to civic and global engagement, as well as services for international students. She will focus on the university’s plans to establish a center that integrates global engagement, the Office of Civic Engagement and International Student Services, and that also deepens Widener’s community engagement and partnership development strategies.

Coles began her position at Widener on Nov. 1, after serving as vice president for Advancement and Strategic Partnerships at Peirce College in Philadelphia.

“I am delighted to welcome Uva Coles to Widener,” said President Julie E. Wollman. “She has an outstanding reputation as a dynamic and inclusive leader who is respected for her ability to forge innovative partnerships and advance institutional priorities. She is exactly the right person to lead the development of a Widener center focused on priorities of such significance.”

Coles has an undergraduate degree in English from Claflin University in South Carolina, and a master’s degree in management with a specialty in organizational leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware.

She currently serves on Philadelphia’s Global Identity Advisory Board and was previously appointed to Philadelphia’s Workforce Steering Committee, and to a mayor-appointed international delegation to Germany to study best practices in workforce development. Coles is also a member of the Economy League and was committee co-chair of its 2018 Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange and co-chair of the education subcommittee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Roadmap Steering Committee. Currently, Coles also serves as a board member of the Philadelphia Award and West Oak Lane Charter School.

The Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition honored Coles this month with its 2018 Friend of the Year Award.

Coles held multiple leadership positions during her nine-year tenure at Peirce College. Prior to her position in Advancement and Strategic Partnerships, she was vice president of Student Services, dean of Career Development Services, and executive advisor of Peirce’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Before joining Peirce, Coles was vice president of intake services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“I am thrilled to join Widener and to support our community of faculty, staff, students, and partners – local and abroad – in finding common ground and amplifying our civic and global footprint and engagement,” she said.