Executive VP Joseph Mercurio Leaves University
After 38 years, master of major expansion moves on| From Commonwealth | By Art Jahnke
Joseph P. Mercurio, executive vice president of the University for the past 16 years, recently stepped down. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky
It all started with tuition remission. In August 1973, Joseph Mercurio was a determined undergraduate business student at Suffolk University, struggling to come up with the next semester’s tuition.
“Someone told me if I could get a job at BU, I could get free tuition,” he recalls. “So I did. I took the job to get tuition remission to get my degree and get out into the commercial world.”
Now, almost 38 years later, the man who planned and directed the largest expansion of the Boston University campus is still eager to get out into the commercial world. Only this time, he’s done it.
Joseph P. Mercurio, executive vice president of the University for the past 16 years, left his post on July 1 to launch what he calls his “third chapter” and “form a new business enterprise.”
In a letter sent to University leadership, President Robert A. Brown described Mercurio (MET’81) as “an icon for the effective management of Boston University” and urged the BU community to thank him for “his incredible role” and wish him well.
“Joe is legendary for his ability to grasp the complexity of Boston University and guide effective decisions in so many facets of what we do,” Brown wrote. “No individual has played a larger role in creating a collegial environment for all of us who have the privilege of working at BU.”
In the years since his first job as an associate budget director allowed him to take classes at no cost, Mercurio has seen the annual budget at BU grow from $89 million to $2 billion, and he has directed over nine million square feet of development, valued at more than $2 billion.
After serving for four years as an associate budget director, Mercurio was assistant vice president and comptroller, vice president for business affairs, senior vice president, and since 1995, executive vice president. In that role, he has led the University’s senior management team and directed all nonacademic programs and service and support activities, as well as business functions and commercial activities.
He has overseen the expansion of the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus and has guided efforts that pushed BU’s endowment above $1 billion for the first time.
He leaves behind a reputation as an extraordinarily fair-minded and supportive leader in the BU community and as someone whose sense of purpose united the business and educational missions of the University.