Fairfield University Announces its 9th President
The Board of Trustees of Fairfield University is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark R. Nemec, PhD, as its 9th President effective July 1, 2017. Dr. Nemec is currently dean of the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. A thought leader in the area of higher education who has worked both in academia and in business, with a foundation in Jesuit education, Dr. Nemec was chosen following an extensive national search led by a committee consisting of University trustees, faculty, administrators, students, and members of the Fairfield Jesuit community. Dr. Nemec will also join the politics department as professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I am honored and delighted by the opportunity to lead and to serve Fairfield University at this critical moment in the evolution of higher education,” said Dr. Nemec. “I’m particularly excited to be joining a Jesuit university, having been steeped in and formed by the principles of Jesuit education as a young man. Fairfield is a university with a reputation for excellence and one that is clearly rising in stature. I look forward to working with everyone in the Fairfield community to ensure that we continue to evolve to meet the needs of students and society today in order to create a model for 21st century higher education while remaining true to our core values so we may exceptionally educate men and women for others.”
A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory, in Los Angeles, Dr. Nemec earned a PhD in Political Science and an MA in Education from the University of Michigan and a BA in English at Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player. Early in his career he taught American politics as a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College and as an instructor at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Ivory Towers and Nationalist Minds: Universities, Leadership, and the Development of the American State (University of Michigan Press, 2006), and a contributor to The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson (University of Virginia Press, 2012).
Beyond his research on the role of higher education in American political development, Dr. Nemec has been a frequent speaker on the current and future state of higher education and has addressed the White House’s Forum on College Affordability, the British Council’s Going Global, the New England Board of Higher Education’s Summit on Cost in Higher Education and annual meetings of numerous higher education associations.
Joining the University of Chicago in 2014 as dean of the Graham School, Dr. Nemec led the school’s significant growth and evolution by extending the University’s reach to broader student populations in innovative ways. During Dr. Nemec’s tenure the Graham School reaffirmed its commitment to lifelong learning in the liberal arts by reinvesting in its core programs for adult learners and establishing professional programs in newly emerging, multi-disciplinary fields, including master’s degrees and certificate programs to ensure career development with rigor. Under Dr. Nemec’s leadership, the Graham School explored, developed, and implemented new modalities and approaches to teaching and learning and served as an instrument of innovation in areas of university-wide strategic importance, with a particular emphasis on online pedagogy and digital engagement.
Prior to his tenure at the University of Chicago, Dr. Nemec served as president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, a Boston-based information services firm that provides research and consulting to the higher education community. He previously had been a member of the executive team of Forrester Research, a provider of similar services to the technology industry.
"Fairfield was fortunate to have had an extremely strong slate of interested candidates during our national search. Along with the search committee, I am confident that Dr. Nemec is the ideal leader for Fairfield,” said Andrew McMahon ’89, P’19, '13, University Trustee, and Chair of the University’s Presidential Search Committee. “His passion for higher education, commitment to Jesuit values and experiences in academia and business, bring a distinctive set of skills and experiences to this critical role as we begin this new chapter in our history."
Dr. Nemec will join Fairfield in the midst of the University’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1942, Fairfield University is recognized as one of the leading, master’s degree granting institutions in the North, with over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students in five schools: The College of Arts and Sciences; The Charles F. Dolan School of Business; The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Sciences; The School of Engineering; and the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. The University upholds the centuries-old traditions of Jesuit education, which is focused on the development of the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — with an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, and on the importance of service to the common good.
“Of paramount importance to all of us at Fairfield is that while we continue to grow and evolve, we also stay true to our traditions as a Jesuit university,” said Frank J. Carroll III ’89, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are so fortunate that we have found in Dr. Nemec, a leader in higher education who was educated himself in the Jesuit tradition, and is fully committed to ensuring that those traditions will inform all that we do in the future.”
“Mark’s appointment at Fairfield is a well-deserved reflection of his successful leadership and accomplishments at the University of Chicago and his extensive work as a political scientist, higher education expert, and business leader,” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago.
Dr. Nemec will join the Fairfield community with his wife, Suzanne, and their four children Alex, Teddy, Philip and “Kit.”