Colleen Wyse ‘75

Colleen Wyse

Colleen Wyse

Even though she has only been at her current position as the vice president of strategic initiatives for the City of Philadelphia for six months, USF graduate Colleen Wyse brings a wealth of experience with her.

Wyse said USF provided her with “an edge.”

“Attending a liberal arts university gave me the latitude to be on the balance beam and not fall off,” she said. “Liberal arts is so important because it teaches us to be human and how to think and understand. I didn’t focus on just one area; I had the whole world open to me.”

Growing up in the small farming town of Grand Ridge, Ill. (pop. 659), Wyse was drawn to USF because it was located in a “big” city. At the time, USF was a women’s only university. During her second year, USF would become a co-ed institution, and two years later she graduated as a communication major and music/theatre minor.

“It was an exciting time to be in college because it was at the forefront of the women’s movement,” said Wyse.

Wyse was an elementary school teacher for four years before landing a job at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Ill.

“I did everything at the Rialto, but it got my feet wet,” said Wyse. “The job evolved, and after much growth in the position, I moved on to explore other leadership roles.”

Wyse’s career path would take her around the United States to some of the nation’s biggest cities including New York, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Chicago, and as of lately, Philadelphia. Most of her positions were leadership roles in marketing, sales, and advertising for companies such as Condé Nast (Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Bon Appétit) as well as the Home Shopping Network.

Now that she is settling into her life in Philly, and beginning the next chapter of her career, she reflects fondly on her beginnings.

“Education is very important to me, and that is why I am a proponent of a liberal arts education because of the success I’ve had in my career,” said Wyse.

Even though she has enjoyed the ride her career has taken her on, Wyse spends here free time collecting art and running. She has completed a few half marathons with her husband, who is the president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University.