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Sheeran to Step Down as Seton Hall’s President

Presidential Seal Monsignor Robert Sheeran, 63, will step down from the presidency of Seton Hall University in June 2010 after serving 15 years at the helm of the South Orange institution.

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In making the announcement to the university’s Board of Regents at their June meeting, he explained that this was a “deeply personal and spiritual decision.” Sheeran summed up his presidency at Seton Hall as “serving the mission of creating an environment where everyone can flourish—where undergraduate and graduate students alike are ‘servant leaders’ who know that those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

The Board of Regents will establish a search committee during the summer months, hoping to name Sheeran’s successor in time for the new president to take the reins of the nation’s oldest diocesan university in July 2010.

Sheeran’s tenure, one of Seton Hall’s longest, is marked by wide-ranging changes in all aspects of university life, including a five-fold increase in the university’s endowment and the strongest financial position it has enjoyed over its 153-year history. His primary focus has been to raise the institution’s academic profile to greater national prominence and increased recognition in the state.

Under his leadership, extensive curricular innovations have transformed the educational experience in all eight of the university’s schools and colleges. The Law School in Newark has gained national prestige and the establishment in 1997 of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations in alliance with the United Nations Association-U.S.A. has helped the university deepen its involvement in post-9/11 international affairs. A nationally ranked program in health law, new doctoral programs in microbiology and nursing, and programs leading to degrees in speech pathology and occupational and physical therapy have contributed to shaping Seton Hall’s role in providing some of the best prepared and ethically sensitive legal and health professionals in New Jersey.

The chairman of the board, Kurt T. Borowsky, said: “Monsignor Sheeran’s leadership has been remarkable. It is hard to imagine the university without his sure hand and exceptional vision for higher education in the 21st century.” In addition, Borowsky called him “a strong and compassionate leader as the university community faced the daunting challenges after the Boland Hall fire.” Monsignor Sheeran lived in the residence where the fire occurred with his students that semester.

Archbishop of Newark and president of Seton Hall’s Board of Trustees, John J. Myers, said, “I am very proud to see a vibrant faith life flourishing on campus and I commend Monsignor Sheeran for his successful efforts at incorporating the Catholic intellectual tradition in the University’s curricula.”

Sheeran led the University’s most successful capital campaign in history, raising $153 million dollars in 2007. The campaign funded a host of initiatives including a $35 million renovation of the Science and Technology Center as well as an extensive structural and liturgical restoration of the campus’s historic chapel, built in 1863.

Sheeran often describes Seton Hall in the words of its founder as being “a home for the mind, the heart and the spirit” recognizing, he says, that “the aspirations of everyone on campus from the most senior faculty to the youngest student are important to the mission.”

  • Greater national, regional and state reputation for Seton Hall University, and increased emphasis on internationalization.
  • Strongest financial position for University in its 153-year history
  • Dramatic increase in the quality of undergraduate students.
  • A student body that is significantly more diverse.
  • Stronger national reputation as evidenced by increase in peer assessment by U.S.News and World Report from 150-160 years ago to 120-130 rank today.

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