AGB Search Recruits 22nd President for Seton Hall University

April 5, 2024 – Washington, D.C.-based recruitment firm AGB Search, which specializes in higher education leadership assignments, has assisted in the recruitment of Monsignor Joseph R. Reilly as the 22nd president of Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. Melissa K. Trotta and Matthew J. Kilcoyne led the assignment. “There is no one better suited to leading the university at this moment — a time when Seton Hall stands at the cusp of extraordinary progress,” said Hank D’Alessandro, chair of the board of regents and the presidential search committee. “Monsignor Reilly was the ideal choice. He possesses a deep faith in god and a demonstrable commitment to nurturing our students to greatness as we advance among the nation’s foremost Catholic universities.”

Monsignor Reilly was selected after an eight-month search by a subcommittee of the board of regents with input from a diverse cross-section of the university community. Seton Hall received additional guidance from AGB Search. This appointment marks the return of a priest-president to Seton Hall, which has been a hallmark of the university for 146 years of its 168-year history.

“In my service with Monsignor Reilly on the board of trustees, he impressed me with his abiding faith, keen intellect and genuine care for the entire university,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark, chair of the board of trustees and president of the board of regents. “I am confident he will be an outstanding president.”

Monsignor Reilly brings to the presidency a deep knowledge of Catholic higher education, impressive administrative skills and personal experience as a Seton Hall student, alumnus, faculty member, administrator and priest. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1991 and returned to his alma mater in 2002 as rector of the College Seminary at St. Andrew’s Hall. In 2012, he was named rector/dean of the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, where he served until 2022. During this period, he helped strengthen the University’s Catholic foundation as a member of the board of trustees. After a yearlong sabbatical, Monsignor Reilly undertook his most recent post as vice provost of academics and Catholic identity.

Monsignor Reilly has played key roles in multiple pontificates. St. John Paul II named him a chaplain to His Holiness in 2005 and Pope Francis appointed him a Missionary of Mercy in 2015. In addition, he has served the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a member of the Faithful Citizenship Strategy Committee and the Catholic Social Teaching Task Force.

“I am both profoundly grateful and exceedingly energized to take up the responsibilities of service as the university’s 22nd president,” Monsignor Reilly said. “Seton Hall is the place where I have come to know the truth about god, about who I am before god, and about what contribution to society that god is inviting me to make. Since 1856, countless others have had a similar experience. I cannot wait to engage our community as together we strive to bring new life to the timeless Catholic mission that makes Seton Hall unique among American universities.”

Related: AGB Search Assists Ohio University in Finding New President

Seton Hall University is a private Roman Catholic research university. Founded in 1856 by then-Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley and named after his aunt, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Seton Hall is the oldest diocesan university in the United States. Seton Hall consists of nine schools and colleges and has an undergraduate enrollment of about 5,800 students and a graduate enrollment of about 4,400.

Conducting Searches for Colleges and Universities

AGB Search conducts searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, university system heads, and CEOs of coordinating boards and related foundations. The firm was founded by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) in 2010.

AGB Search Assists Rhode Island College in Finding New President
AGB Search recently placed Jack Warner as the president of Rhode Island College after the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education voted unanimously. The vote and announcement cap a nation-wide executive search, led by a diverse executive search committee guided by AGB, and with the counsel and participation of a community advisory committee. “Dr. Warner is a deeply experienced postsecondary education expert with administrative and teaching expertise and as interim president of Rhode Island College he has delivered significant achievements,” said David Caprio, chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “The quality of the individuals that had applied for this position was impressive, making it a very difficult decision. There’s certainly demonstrated momentum by the state of Rhode Island and its leadership’s focus on education from K-12 through the college years.”

Dr. Trotta joined AGB Search as associate managing principal in 2017. She has spent more than 25 years in higher education administration at universities including Harvard, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins in leadership roles that spanned admissions and enrollment, program management, executive education, and strategic planning. She has partnered with institutions on searches for presidents, chief financial officers, chief information officers, deans, provosts, executive vice presidents/chief operating officers, and vice presidents and vice provosts for enrollment management, finance and administration, institutional research and university registrar services.

Mr. Kilcoyne joined AGB Search as a principal in January 2023. He has over 20 years of higher-education executive search experience, having completed over 250 searches. His search assignments for presidents, vice presidents and deans have focused on search committee and board relations; institutional analysis; marketing, candidate identification, recruitment, and evaluation; candidate due diligence; and selection and transition.

Related: AGB Search Places President of West Liberty University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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