Monsignor Mahon dedicated more than 40 years of his career to the University.
The College of Communication and the Arts community recently gathered to honor Monsignor Dennis Mahon, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, for his more than 40-year career as a faculty member and administrator at Seton Hall University, The Catholic University of America, and Catholic Community Services.
Monsignor Mahon’s career story begins and ends with Seton Hall. He first entered the University’s South Orange campus as a Seton Hall Preparatory School student and went on to earn his B.A. from the University in 1966. After earning his S.T.B. from The Catholic University of America, he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Newark and assigned to a parish in Bayonne, New Jersey. In 1971, he was assigned to Seton Hall, where he taught undergraduate communication courses for the remainder of the decade. He also earned an M.A. from Fairfield University and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University along the way.
In the 1980s Monsignor Mahon transitioned to University administration, serving as the assistant vice president for planning and later the vice chancellor for planning. In his roles, he helped shape what the University looks like today though participating in the planning of the Richie Regan Recreation and Athletic Center, Walsh Library, the School of Law campus in Newark, Lewis Hall, the Farinella Gate, and several residence halls.
“It was a communication exercise,” Monsignor Mahon said of his University planning experience. “There were faculty and administrators who had their own ideas about what a building should look like, and then there were architects and builders who told me what was actually possible. It was a three-way dialogue, and it was my job for everyone to leave the room on the same page.”
Monsignor Mahon served as Acting Chancellor of the University in 1988.
Monsignor Mahon’s career reached new heights from December 1988 to April 1989 when he served as the University’s acting chancellor. While overseeing the University, he experienced both challenges and exciting opportunities. One of his favorite memories was watching the men’s basketball team earn an awe-inspiring win over Georgetown in front of the University’s first-ever sellout crowd at the Meadowlands.
In 1995, Monsignor Mahon brought his passion for higher education to the Catholic University of America, where he oversaw fundraising and alumni relations as vice president for development. Then in 1997, he was asked to serve as the executive director of the Catholic Community Services in Newark.
Through it all, Monsignor Mahon said he enjoyed the work he did. Yet to him, Seton Hall was always home. “I always wanted to be back at Seton Hall,” he said. “I always saw those (outside roles) as interim.”
He returned to the University in 2002 when the Archdiocese of Newark assigned him to the Department of Communication within the College of Arts & Sciences, which later became the College of Communication and the Arts in 2015. Throughout his tenure, Monsignor Mahon taught a variety of courses, including a series of innovative online classes. Over the past 16 years, Monsignor Mahon said he enjoyed his work tremendously and described it as “intellectually stimulating.”
“The highlight of my teaching career was working with students,” Monsignor Mahon said. “Students discovered bright new ideas and ways of expressing them – it was exciting to be part of that success.”
In 2017, Monsignor Mahon served as the founding coordinator of the College’s Institute for Communication and Religion. Under his leadership, the Institute enjoyed a successful inaugural year with two large-scale, interreligious events and curriculum development workshops.
Looking ahead to his retirement, Monsignor Mahon shared that Seton Hall would always be part of his life. One thing is for certain – he will always be part of Seton Hall’s life and legacy, too.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Strategic Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. A Ph.D. program is currently under development.