Fairfield University Board of Trustees Announces President’s Contract Extension

Fairfield University Board of Trustees Announces President’s Contract Extension

Mark R. Nemec, PhD

An extraordinary leader and steward of Fairfield’s Jesuit and Catholic traditions, President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, has maintained the University’s commitment to a broad, high quality, liberal arts education, while overseeing innovations in teaching modalities, growth of academic programs, and extensive campus additions and improvements.

Fairfield University’s Board of Trustees recently announced that the University has extended the contract of President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, through the summer of 2027.

An extraordinary leader and a remarkable steward of Fairfield’s Jesuit and Catholic traditions during this time of great challenge, President Nemec has maintained the University’s commitment to a broad, liberal arts education of the highest quality while also overseeing dramatic innovations in teaching modalities, growth of academic programs, extensive additions and improvements to the campus environment, and a renewed commitment to the University’s mission to be of service to our neighbors and our world.

In a letter to the University community, Fairfield University Board of Trustees Chairman Frank J. Carroll, III ’89 said, “During his tenure, prospective student interest in our institution has grown remarkably with undergraduate applications at the highest levels in our history, and we were pleased this year to welcome our largest undergraduate first-year class—a diverse body of excellent, talented, and curious students of high academic standing. Simultaneously, our graduate programs continue to grow and thrive. To have achieved this in the midst of the extraordinary disruption to our day-to-day operations brought on by the pandemic is a testament to his leadership, to the work of his team, and to the commitment of all of those at the University who have shown him their support.”

President Nemec also led the largest capital campaign in University history, exceeding an original goal of $160 million to raise a total of $218 million to benefit the University. Carroll added, “Thanks to this success, we have been able to implement the Fairfield 2020: The Way Forward strategic plan that was developed to be put into motion when he joined us as President in 2017. The fulfilment of this plan, which included enhancements to the campus living and learning environment has brought new facilities and enhanced technological infrastructure, including the completion in 2019 of the new Charles F. Dolan School of Business facility, new residential facilities with the Barnyard Manor townhouses and 42 Langguth Hall, and a new 3,500-seat Arena and Convocation Center, slated to open in 2022.”

Under his leadership, Fairfield has grown its online graduate and certificate programs to meet the needs of today’s students, and expanded its professional doctorates in preparation for a shift from a regional master’s comprehensive institution to a national doctoral professional University. The University is planning to reach broader audiences in innovative ways by continuing to evolve its academic programs. 

On July 31 of this year, on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola during which the Superior General of the Society, Arturo Sosa, S.J., declared the Ignatian year, Fairfield announced a new strategic partnership with the Diocese of Bridgeport titled “Pathways to Higher Learning,” to serve as a platform for access to the University’s resources for the diocese and the greater Bridgeport community, supporting the mission of becoming a beacon within the Jesuit Catholic ecosystem. With this in mind, the University elevated its commitment to access and affordability through the exploration of a new academic unit that could offer an associate degree to students from low-income families and under-represented communities, primarily in the surrounding Bridgeport region. Simultaneously, President Nemec commissioned the Presidential Working Group on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, composed of leaders across the institution, to lead the efforts in developing partnership and recruitment initiatives with Nativity and Cristo Rey high schools, expanding our financial aid programs and enhancing our academic immersion programs.

“We can take this moment together to celebrate all that we have achieved as a university over the last five years, and during this recent time of trial, while looking forward to a very bright and exciting future across all of our schools, programs, and divisions,” Carroll wrote. “I thank you all for your contributions to the University’s success, and know you will join me in offering your full support to President Nemec and his exceptional team as we move forward together, continuing to adapt, innovate, and engage with our world in the manner appropriate to the modern Jesuit and Catholic University we are called to be.”

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