Saint Peter’s University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., Announces Decision to Retire in June 2024

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s UniversityJersey City, N.J. – August 23, 2023 –Saint Peter’s University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., today announced his decision to retire at the end of his current contract  on June 30, 2024.  Dr. Cornacchia is the University’s first lay president and the longest-serving president in Saint Peter’s history. He began his term as the 22nd president in 2007 and has had a distinguished tenure marked by transformative leadership, unwavering dedication and a fierce commitment to academic excellence and the Jesuit mission. 

“As a new faculty member in 1981, I never could have imagined having the opportunity to lead this great institution as president,” said Dr. Cornacchia. “Together, we have accomplished many of the goals I set out to achieve for the University  and I could not be more proud or more grateful for this incredible community. My love for Saint Peter’s will never waver.”

President Cornacchia’s retirement comes after 42 years of dedicated service to Saint Peter’s. During his time as president he guided the institution through a period of growth, innovation and unparalleled progress. Notable achievements include:  

  • Strategic expansion of academic programs resulting in a 50 percent increase in graduate students. 
  • Initiation of the institution’s first doctoral programs and establishment of three of the four schools at the University including the Frank J. Guarini School of Business, a School of Nursing and the Caulfield School of Education. 
  • Achievement of university status. 
  • Transformation of  the University’s physical campus including the construction of the Mac Mahon Student Center; Panepinto Hall, a new six-story residence hall; the creation of the Run Baby Run Arena; the addition of the Digital Research Commons in the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library; and the creation of the STEM Empowerment Center; among many other projects.
  • Achievement of national recognition by U.S. News & World Report, the American Council on Education (ACE), Money magazine, Princeton Review Green Colleges, Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and Excelencia in Education, among others. Saint Peter’s has been consistently recognized for transformation and its excellence in social mobility. 
  • Partnership with the Archdiocese of Newark to assume responsibility for St. Aedan’s Church, transitioning the parish church into a university church. St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church enables the University to provide appropriate worship and programmatic space to the Saint Peter’s family and its surrounding community.
  • Exceptional exposure of the University, with Dr. Cornacchia as a brand champion, when Saint Peter’s was thrust into the national and international spotlight when the men’s basketball team made a historic and remarkable run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.
  • Successful navigation of the University through the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on the health and safety of the community as well as the continuity of education.  
  • Establishment of the University’s Campus Kitchen, which has recovered 151,093 pounds of food and delivered 131,458 meals throughout Hudson County since its inception in 2014, as well as the Ignite Institute for entrepreneurial empowerment in order to advance equity and social justice. 
  • Successful oversight of the Mission Examen Journey, sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, that reaffirmed the institution’s Jesuit and Catholic identity. 


In addition, Dr. Cornacchia has set fundraising records, securing $64.7 million for Students at the Center: The Campaign for Saint Peter’s University in 2014 and with the University’s latest campaign, Peacocks Rise: The Campaign for Saint Peter’s University. Peacocks Rise celebrated its public launch in December 2022 with $70 million secured during its quiet phase alone, breaking previous records. One of Dr. Cornacchia’s key priorities for his final year as president – which is also the final year of the campaign’s public phase – is to raise significant additional funding to not only position the University as strongly as possible for the future, but to celebrate the conclusion of the largest and most successful campaign to date in the University’s history in June of 2024. Beyond fundraising success, the University also secured more than $25 million in federal grants during Dr. Cornacchia’s tenure.

Dr. Cornacchia attended Fordham University and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976, a master’s degree in political science in 1979 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1985. Prior to becoming the first lay president of Saint Peter’s and after 20 years of teaching at the University, Dr. Cornacchia served as academic dean and subsequently as provost and vice president for academic affairs before being named president.

“Dr. Cornacchia has been a visionary leader who has made an indelible mark on the institution. His collaborative leadership has brought Saint Peter’s to new heights and his accomplishments have been immeasurable,” said Kenneth Moore, CFA ’91, chair of the Saint Peter’s University Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful for President Cornacchia’s dedication and service and we are fortunate to have his leadership for another academic year.”

Saint Peter’s University is committed to ensuring a smooth transition in leadership and the comprehensive search for the 23rd president is underway.

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For more than 150 years, Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit


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Angeline Boyer
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