Seton Hall president stepping down after three years at helm

Katia Passerini, above, has been named interim president of Seton Hall University

SOUTH ORANGE — The president of Seton Hall University has announced that he is stepping down from his job.

“I believe this is an appropriate time for new leadership to help write the next chapter of Seton Hall’s remarkable story,” said Joseph E. Nyre. “As such, I have informed the Board of Regents that I will be taking a sabbatical during the upcoming year and then plan to relinquish my position as president.”

Katia Passerini was named interim president of Seton Hall, effective immediately, on Tuesday, July 25.

Passerini has served as provost and executive vice president since June 2020. Arriving during the height of the pandemic, she played a key role in instituting the HyFlex teaching modality that enabled the University to achieve a safe and healthy in-person academic year in 2020-21, according to a press release from Seton Hall.

Passerini’s accomplishments include: hiring more than 60 full-time faculty members over the past two years; facilitating the growth of faculty grant applications by nearly 60% since 2020-21 and grant receipts by 146% over the same period; and reorganizing the Division of Continuing and Professional Studies.

A national search will be conducted for a new president.

“The Board of Regents will work diligently to conduct a national search for a new president who will continue our mission of delivering the life-changing Catholic higher education which has been a hallmark of Seton Hall throughout its 167-year history,” said Hank D’Alessandro, chair of the Board of Regents.

In his announcement about stepping down, Nyre noted that the university will complete its three-year strategic plan, Harvest Our Treasures, in the coming months.

“When I was recruited to Seton Hall in 2019, I outlined the need for a dynamic executive team; strategic plan created by a cross-section of the community; campus facilities plan to ground the University’s academic vision; and comprehensive advancement campaign to help fund it all,” Nyre said.

“I am extremely proud of the significant progress and fulfillment that has occurred in each of these areas. Yet these are not my achievements alone, but accomplishments shared by our entire community that have elevated Seton Hall over the past four years.”

Nyre said he was particularly proud of the following developments:

• managed through the pandemic, allowing Seton Hall to emerge healthier and stronger;

• developed and executed strategy informed by all University constituencies;

• attracted the most-qualified freshman classes in Seton Hall history;

• increased retention and graduation, with career placement reaching new institutional highs;

• deployed Seton Hall’s Affordability Agenda to offer record levels of scholarships;

• developed a facilities plan that charts renovations and new buildings well into the next decade;

• transformed the University Center; renovated Boland, Jubilee and Fahy Halls; and received approval and funding for the new basketball practice facility;

• expanded Seton Hall’s academic portfolio by launching a host of programs, centers, academies and global partnerships;

• developed University statements and policies for Seton Hall’s Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Academic Freedom Beyond the Classroom, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;

• launched the University’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign focused on faculty, students, programs and key building projects, achieving the highest level of giving in any single year in Seton Hall’s history; and

• strengthened the fiscal health of the University to support a vibrant future.

“It is important that Seton Hall has the time it needs to conduct a thorough search for its 22nd president, an effort that will begin immediately,” Nyre said. “As the appointed senior advisor to the university, I have pledged my cooperation in assisting with the search for a new president and with making myself available as a resource for the interim president during my sabbatical.”

D’Alessandro thanked Nyre for navigating Seton Hall “through one of the most challenging periods in higher education’s recent history, and we are grateful for his commitment to assist the University with its search for a new president.”

D’Alessandro said Passerini was by far the strongest candidate for Provost three years ago and a natural choice for this new role.

Joseph E. Nyre has stepped down as president of Seton Hall University.