Eugene Cornacchia
Higher Ed

Saint Peter’s University President Cornacchia Retiring in June 2024

Saint Peter’s University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., today announced his decision to retire at the end of his current contract on June 30, 2024. Dr. Cornacchia is the university’s first lay president and the longest-serving president in Saint Peter’s history. He began his term as the 22nd president in 2007 and has had a distinguished tenure marked by transformative leadership, unwavering dedication and a fierce commitment to academic excellence and the Jesuit mission.

“As a new faculty member in 1981, I never could have imagined having the opportunity to lead this great institution as president,” said Dr. Cornacchia. “Together, we have accomplished many of the goals I set out to achieve for the university and I could not be more proud or more grateful for this incredible community. My love for Saint Peter’s will never waver.”

Cornacchia’s retirement comes after 42 years of service to Saint Peter’s, during which he guided the institution through a period of growth, innovation and unparalleled progress. Notable achievements include:

  • Strategic expansion of academic programs resulting in a 50% increase in graduate students.
  • Initiation of the institution’s first doctoral programs and establishment of three of the four schools at the University including the Frank J. Guarini School of Business, a School of Nursing and the Caulfield School of Education.
  • Achievement of university status.
  • Transformation of the university’s physical campus including the construction of the Mac Mahon Student Center; Panepinto Hall, a new six-story residence hall; the creation of the Run Baby Run Arena; the addition of the Digital Research Commons in the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library; and the creation of the STEM Empowerment Center; among many other projects.
  • Achievement of national recognition by U.S. News & World Report, the American Council on Education (ACE), Money magazine, Princeton Review Green Colleges, Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and Excelencia in Education, among others. Saint Peter’s has been consistently recognized for transformation and its excellence in social mobility.
  • Exceptional exposure of the university, with Dr. Cornacchia as a brand champion, when Saint Peter’s was thrust into the national and international spotlight when the men’s basketball team made a historic and remarkable run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.
  • Successful navigation of the university through the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on the health and safety of the community as well as the continuity of education.
  • Establishment of the university’s Campus Kitchen, which has recovered 151,093 pounds of food and delivered 131,458 meals throughout Hudson County since its inception in 2014, as well as the Ignite Institute for entrepreneurial empowerment in order to advance equity and social justice.

Dr. Cornacchia attended Fordham University and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976, a master’s degree in political science in 1979 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1985. Prior to becoming the first lay president of Saint Peter’s and after 20 years of teaching at the university, Dr. Cornacchia served as academic dean and subsequently as provost and vice president for academic affairs before being named president.

“Dr. Cornacchia has been a visionary leader who has made an indelible mark on the institution. His collaborative leadership has brought Saint Peter’s to new heights and his accomplishments have been immeasurable,” said Kenneth Moore, CFA ’91, chair of the Saint Peter’s University Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for President Cornacchia’s dedication and service and we are fortunate to have his leadership for another academic year.”

A comprehensive search for the 23rd president at the university is underway.

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