Juniata College inaugurates Troha as 12th president

HUNTINGDON, PA. -James Troha, former vice president for institutional advancement and university relations at Heidelberg University, was inaugurated Friday as Juniata College’s 12th president.

Troha began his duties as president last June.

Troha began at Heidelberg in 2002 as vice president for student affairs and dean of students, where he worked until he was named interim president in 2008. From 2003 to 2007, he also served as vice president for enrollment, and helped increase enrollment by 19 percent in his first year and helped bring in the university’s three largest freshmen classes in three decades.

During his inaugural address, titled “The Call to Think, The Courage to Evolve, The Conviction to Act,” Troha said, “None of us have arrived here without the support of others. We have to remember those that have changed our lives.”

Contemplation, courage and conviction “are the attributes that we must possess today,” Troha said. “It is not a tag line it is a culture that we must live out … a characteristic of our beginning.”

Troha took over for Thomas R. Kepple Jr., who had served the college for 15 years.

“A liberal arts education urges us to change … to confront what we don’t know,” Troha said. He quoted Kepple from his inaugural address in 1999, stating, “‘You can only accomplish what you’re willing to dream.'”

“Now is our time; we must define our future before the future defines us,” Troha said. “We invite new people and new ideas and new challenges … we want them, we need them.”

Dominic Dottavio, president of Tarleton State University and former president of Heidelberg University, introduced Troha.

Troha had help raise $38 million toward a $50 million campaign goal for Heidelberg, Dottavio said. Troha also served as Heidelberg’s interim president for a year. In that time, he oversaw several projects, including refinancing the university’s $17 million in state-issued bonds and leading Heidelberg’s transition from college to university.

“Determination and fortitude, that is what you will be given with Jim Troha,” Dottavio said.

As a Heidelberg University Board of Trustee member since 2001, Ernie Estep said he has watched Troha use his leadership skills in numerous areas and has always done an excellent job in each position.

Dustin Brentlinger, the dean of students at Heidelberg, had worked with Troha off and on for over 20 years at the University of Evansville in Indiana, Harlaxton College, the British camps of the University of Evansville in England and Heidelberg.

“His ability to focus on the can-do’s instead of the but-ifs, and his ability to make people feel that they matter to the success are all strengths that make him a great president,” Brentlinger said.

An endowed scholarship was made in honor of Jim’s mother and his wife’s Jennifer’s father.