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Senior Leadership Team

The University’s strategic initiatives and policies are governed by a Board of Trustees ranging from different career and cultural backgrounds, and carried out by WPU’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT).

SLT’s primary functions include executing the University strategic plan through leadership of all areas on campus, coordinating and facilitating quality internal and external communication and collaboration, ensuring effective and responsible management of all University resources, engaging with the Board of Trustees on all institutional matters, and acting as key institutional liaisons with external groups, donors and friends.

Areas of senior leadership management include:

  • Academics
  • Admissions
  • Alumni Affairs
  • Athletics
  • Communications & Marketing
  • Community Outreach
  • Fund Raising
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Operations
  • Residence Life
  • Retention
  • Student Life

Belinda Burke

Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer

Belinda Burke is responsible for the University’s financial operations and administration, including the controller’s office, facilities, human resources, information technology, public safety, the University bookstore, and food services. In addition, she serves on the University’s senior cabinet creating institutional goals, priorities, and policies.

Burke brings more than 30 years of experience as a financial officer, including financial planning and modeling, analysis, investment portfolio management, liquidity management, operations, strategic planning, risk management, and compliance. Before joining WPU, she served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Administration and Finance at Warren Wilson College.

Before working in the education sector, she worked in banking as a Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, responsible for all aspects of finance and administration/operations.

Burke holds a BS in Finance from Virginia Tech. She is an active Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. In addition, she graduated from the CUES’ CEO Institute and earned the designation of Certified Chief Executive (CCE). This three-year graduate program focused on strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, and leadership development while attending Wharton, Cornell, and UVA/Darden.

Belinda Burke

Frank Rizzo

Vice President for Student Life

Frank Rizzo is the university’s Chief Student Life Officer overseeing the areas of residence life & housing, student activities, student conduct, student health, counseling & disability support services, community involvement, spiritual life and athletics.

Rizzo, a native of New York, has worked in Connecticut, Washington State, Florida and Virginia before moving to North Carolina with his wife and two children. His favorite Raleigh restaurant is Sassool.

Paul Scherschel

Interim Vice President for Advancement

Paul Scherschel joined the William Peace University Advancement team as Director of Development for Major Gifts in December 2021. In his position, Paul will work closely with the Office of Advancement staff, WPU leadership, faculty, alumni and friends in support of WPU’s mission. Paul has been fundraising for fifteen years serving healthcare and small private higher education institutions. His wife, Kira, is a middle school teacher as well as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer. With their two children, Jonah and Josie, they love to be outside, travel and play with their Goldendoodle dog, Cruiser.

Lynda Szymanski

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Lynda Szymanski serves as the chief academic officer of William Peace University and is responsible for providing leadership, oversight, advancement, and coordination of the academic functions of the University.

Szymanski has more than twenty years of experience in higher education. Before joining William Peace University, she served as Provost at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She began her academic career as a faculty member at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. There, she became full professor and held multiple leadership positions, including associate provost, interim provost, associate dean of the school of humanities, arts, and sciences, and department chair of psychology.

Szymanski earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Connecticut College and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from West Virginia University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island, and her post-doctoral fellowship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. Szymanski’s area of specialty is health psychology. She has completed extensive research on women’s health and body image concerns.

Damon Wade

Vice President, Enrollment Management and Marketing

Damon Wade is responsible for developing, overseeing, and controlling all university enrollment, recruiting, and related marketing communications programs and leading the development of marketing resources and strategic campaigns for student recruitment, enrollment stability, and strategic enrollment growth of the university.

Wade has more than twenty years of experience in higher education. Before joining William Peace University, he served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. His primary focus was to design, implement, and provide the services necessary to promote student engagement and success throughout the recruitment lifecycle and facilitate data-driven decision-making and process improvement. He oversaw the undergraduate admissions office, financial aid and scholarships, transfer and military services, international student services, registrar, and the university college.

Wade earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Elizabeth City State University, an MA in Urban Affairs from Norfolk State University, and an MPA and Ph.D. from Walden University.

Damon Wade

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
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WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

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