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.

Kelley Dietz

Director for Presidential Operations

Kelley Dietz manages the Office of the President and supports the President with communications, strategic engagement, board management, leading Commencement, Presidential student engagement, office budget, and the University’s Strategic Plan.

Dietz has more than 20 years of experience in university and public administration, focusing on advice and guidance for top-level officials and policymakers. Before joining William Peace, she served as Director for Presidential Advancement at Wake Forest University and previously served in a number of related university roles.

Earlier in her career, she served as a legislative advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Special Operations at the Pentagon and spent four years working in the U.S. Senate on armed services and national security issues.

Dietz earned her MA in Legislative Affairs from the George Washington University and her BA in French from Wake Forest University.

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Kelley Dietz, WPU Director of Presidential Operations
Frank Rizzo, WPU staff member.

Frank Rizzo

Vice President for Student Services

Frank Rizzo oversees the areas of residence life, student activities, leadership development, Pacer Camp (summer orientation), fall orientation, student government, judicial affairs, student health, counseling, community involvement, spiritual life and athletics. Rizzo also serves on the University’s senior cabinet creating institutional goals, priorities and policies.

Prior to coming to William Peace University, Rizzo served as Associate Vice President and Dean for Student Development at Marymount University in Arlington, VA. He was responsible for leading key student development areas and working closely with the university on developing and maintaining a vibrant, student-centered living and learning environment.

Rizzo holds a BS in Finance and a graduate degree in Education, Counseling and Personnel Services from Fordham University.

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Paul Scherschel

Interim Vice President for Advancement

Paul Scherschel serves as the Interim Vice President for University Advancement and oversees the Office of Advancement team. He is responsible for fundraising, including annual, grants, major, and planned giving; advancement services; donor stewardship; alumni relations; and partnerships. In this position, he builds relationships with current and potential supporters of William Peace University.

Paul has more than fifteen years of experience in fundraising while serving healthcare and small private higher education institutions. Prior to joining William Peace University, he served as the Foundation Manager and Senior Gift Officer for the Prairie Heart Foundation. He was responsible for establishing this new philanthropic arm in the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation and led the effort to build from scratch a fundraising program for cardiovascular services. He began his fundraising career at Millikin University. At Prairie and Millikin, he was responsible for grants, annual giving, major giving, special events, corporate and foundation relations, volunteer engagement, and planned giving.

Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a pre-medical concentration from Millikin University. He is an active Certified Fund Raising Executive.

paul scherschel
Lynda Szymanski

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.


University Council

The University Council is comprised the Senior Leadership Team and a group of institutional leaders who emulate the mission and vision of the University. These individuals ensure quality institutional communications, enhancing faculty and staff development, closely monitoring SACSCOC progress and compliance, driving accountability for the implementation of the strategic plan and providing budgetary insight within each of their respective areas.

Department Chair of Humanities and Professor of English
WPU Fountain_Profile Image
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Lisa Bonner
Department Chair of Science and Mathematics; ​Professor of Biology
Associate Vice President for Finance & Controller
Bobbie Cole
Assistant Vice President of Student Life
John Cranham
Associate Vice President for Buildings & Grounds
Director of Retention & First Year Experience
Michael Andrew John
Director of Public Safety
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
WPU staff member, Lori McClaren.
Executive Director of the School of Professional Studies
Chief Information Officer
​Kayce Meginnis-Payne, WPU Professor
​Associate Professor of Psychology