Victor Petenkemani, School of Business Interim Dean, Selected as 2024 Presidential Leadership Scholar

Headshot of Victor Petenkemani

He joins a unique network of leaders making a difference in the world; will learn from the presidential leadership examples of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Mercy University is proud to announce that Victor Petenkemani, interim dean of the School of Business is one of 60 Scholars who will form the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ (PLS) ninth class. For nearly a decade, PLS has served as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the United States and around the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and their administrations.

The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community, the country, or the world.

“Mercy University congratulates Victor Petenkemani on this remarkable achievement and looks forward to witnessing the positive impact he will make through his participation in the Presidential Leadership Scholars program,” said Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., M.S.W., president of Mercy University. “Dean Petenkemani's commitment to expanding access to quality education for underserved populations aligns perfectly with Mercy University's mission.”

“I couldn’t be more grateful for this amazing opportunity to learn from the work and experience of some of the most transformational global leaders of the past century,” said Victor Petenkemani, interim dean of the School of Business at Mercy University.

As interim dean of the School of Business, Petenkemani serves as the chief academic and administrative officer of the school, managing academic programs, overseeing community partnerships, and ensuring that students in the school’s undergraduate programs and graduate programs enjoy expert instruction, high quality curricula, and effective academic support.  In addition, he works collaboratively with institutional and academic leadership, faculty, and staff to establish and execute the school’s strategic priorities in alignment with the University’s strategic goals. Dean Petenkemani is a passionate educator who is committed to Mercy’s mission to expanding access to quality education to underserved populations. He is a graduate of the Wharton School (MBA in Finance) and a fellow of the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. He earned an MS in Accounting and a BS in Economics at Université du Maine in Le Mans, France.

During the six-month program, Petenkemani will develop his initiative focused on expanding access to American education on the African continent. He hopes to design and implement new pathways that address the affordability barrier and enhance the competitiveness of young graduates in the global marketplace. This initiative will contribute to Mercy University's ongoing dedication to providing high-quality, accessible education that leads to successful outcomes for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Over the course of the program, Petenkemani and his fellow Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in the communities they serve.

Scholars have consistently reported remarkable growth in skills, responsibilities, and opportunities for impact since the program began in 2015. For example, 91% of Scholars said their confidence in how they lead social change has improved as a result of the PLS program.

The 2024 program kicked off on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.




About Presidential Leadership Scholars

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. To learn more, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars and follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Instagram.