If you live in Central New York, you undoubtedly know Dr. Linda LeMura as the 14th president of Le Moyne College. But long before she embarked on what has been a remarkable career in higher education, Linda first gained fame as an athlete, first at Bishop Grimes High School and later at Niagara University.
At Grimes, Linda was a three-sport athlete, running track and playing tennis and basketball for the Cobras. But it was basketball where she made her mark. After finishing as the team’s second leading scorer with 17 points per game as a senior in 1978 and leading the team to the OHSL Central co-championship, she chose Niagara University to continue her education and playing career. The women’s game in the late 1970s was much different than today. Women played with the same size ball as the men and there was no three-point shot. Playing point guard, she was a gritty competitor who teammates described as the consummate team player, looking to drive and dish the ball first but with an accurate outside jump shot to keep opponents honest. Starting her junior and senior years, the Purple Eagles compiled an impressive record of 86 wins and 26 losses during her four years at Niagara. While at Niagara, she was also a member of the CNY Empire State Games Women’s Basketball team.
After graduating summa cum laude from Niagara, Dr. LeMura earned a Ph.D. in Applied Physiology from Syracuse University. Utilizing many of the attributes developed on the court – leadership, intelligence, hustle, ingenuity and teamwork - she left sports behind and embarked on her career. At Bloomsburg University, she was a professor and research scientist in the Departments of Biology and Health Sciences and Exercise Physiology, and served as Graduate Program Director and Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania institution. Her research interests include pediatric obesity, pediatric applied physiology, and lipid and energy metabolism. She has been a research consultant for the U.S. and the Italian Olympic Committees and is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous externally funded grant proposals.
In 2003, she returned to her hometown when she joined Le Moyne as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, serving in that role four years before taking over as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2007. In 2014 she made history when she became the first female layperson to be named president of a Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States.
Her tenure as president over the past eight years has been stellar. As president, Le Moyne has achieved seven years of its largest class enrollments and she has also overseen the completion of the $100 million Always Forward campaign, the largest campaign in the College’s history.
A hallmark of her time in office is developing collaborative partnerships with other institutions of higher education. She is actively engaged in the greater Syracuse community to improve the lives and education of those in the Central New York region. A much-quoted expert in the financing of higher education, Dr. LeMura is a strong advocate for increasing Pell Grants to address racial and economic inequities in higher education access and completion rates.
She and her husband, Lawrence Tanner, Ph.D., a professor of Environmental Systems Science at Le Moyne, have one daughter, Emily.
We are honored to include Dr. Linda LeMura for induction into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.