Alison McGrath Peirce Named New Executive Education Director of the Vistex Institute
Peirce joins Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics following successful career with Wharton Executive Education.
Alison McGrath Peirce, an educator and innovator who has led several successful programs internationally, has been named executive director of the Vistex Institute for Executive Learning and Research at Lehigh. Peirce, who succeeds David Welsh, officially assumed the position March 18.
In her role, Peirce will be responsible for growing Lehigh’s specialized business and leadership development programming. She will promote broad participation of faculty and practitioners in developing and delivering non-credit custom and open learning opportunities for companies, organizations and industry partners locally, regionally and nationally.
"Alison brings a depth and breadth of experience to her role as executive director of the Vistex Institute that will take our executive education program to new heights,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh. “We are proud that our program attracted such a talented leader. I look forward to working with her."
At Wharton Executive Education, Peirce launched its Advanced Management Program, oversaw its Open Enrollment portfolio and led early initiatives in distributed learning before starting a consulting practice, Magma Learning Group, in 2000. In the 10 years she ran her consulting group, she worked with a variety of academic and for-profit organizations in the areas of marketing, business development and program direction.
She returned to Wharton Executive Education in 2010, directing custom practice for firms in the Financial and Professional Services Sectors, until 2017.
“I look forward to working with Georgette,” Peirce said. “I like her enthusiasm, her demeanor and her vision.” She said she welcomes the opportunity to be part of the team at the College of Business and Economics. “It’s got a lot to build on—the reputation of the university, the strengths of the faculty and the integrated approach to learning that’s kind of native to Lehigh.”
Peirce earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the State University of New York, Rochester, and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Prior to working in executive education, she led the M.B.A. offices of career development and placement at the Simon School at the University of Rochester, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
While she sees opportunities for growth in executive education at Lehigh, Peirce said she plans to talk extensively with Lehigh faculty and alumni to build on the university’s strengths.
“Executive Education is a fabulous filter,” she said. “It takes research that’s being done at the university and sees how it can be applied in the actual workplace. It informs the faculty who are teaching in exec ed and makes them much more aware of the realities of the corporate world. … It’s knowledge and practice transfer that’s really important.”