Marylouise Fennell


Dr. Marylouise Fennell, a Sister of Mercy, has more than 35 years of experience in higher education administration and executive search. She co-founded Hyatt-Fennell with Cheryl Hyatt to meet the growing need for specialized search services that focus on small and mid-sized higher education institutions across the United States.

“While every candidate’s talents and experiences are important aspects of a search,” says Dr. Fennell, “I believe that the candidates’ backgrounds, their commitment to service, and especially finding a good fit are the must-have criteria for a truly successful match between an institution and their perfect candidate.”

The most important thing for organizations and candidates alike to remember during this process is that no matter how well-prepared a person is, they still may not be “right” for a particular institution. Hyatt-Fennell prides itself on finding not just a good fit for a position, but the best possible fit. To ensure a positive outcome, Hyatt-Fennell’s active involvement in every new search begins on day one, and it continues even after the position has been filled.

“We start each new search by learning everything we can about our client,” says Dr. Fennell. “We do an in-depth study of their organization’s culture, their mission, and their lived behavior, all to ensure that the candidates that we match them with are primed to succeed. We remind everyone that good candidates for one particular college may not necessarily fit at another college. We don’t have a bullpen of backup ‘ideal’ candidates; we narrow every search down to presenting candidates that seem to be perfect for that institution.”

Prior to founding Hyatt-Fennell, Dr. Fennell taught and served in various executive roles at several colleges and universities, including as president of Carlow University (PA). She earned her Doctoral degree from Boston University and did Post Doctoral work in Management from Harvard and the University Of Connecticut. Dr. Fennell has extensive experience in corporate relations and financial investment, and serves as a consultant and board member for various educational institutions and financial organizations including Huntington Financial Cooperation. Dr. Fennell presently serves on three College Boards, and is the Chairperson of two of these institutions. She is also the Senior Counsel to the Council of Independent Colleges (DC), the largest independent college and university membership organization in the United States.

In addition to her search and consulting responsibilities, Dr. Fennell is also a highly-regarded speaker, teacher, editor, and author. She has published over 100 articles on higher education, and has co-edited 14 books on higher education geared to assist higher education administrators. Dr. Fennell is the first graduate of the University of Hartford to be named a college president and was also the first woman to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Duquesne Club, which was founded in 1873. She was the author and primary consultant to the Accreditation System Of the Private Universities of Central America. Her many honors include numerous honorary Doctoral degrees from universities throughout the world and the United States. In 1989, Governor Tom Ridge named her a “Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.”