Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Meet Saint Leo’s new president

Saint Leo University’s Board of Trustees elected Jeffrey D. Senese as university president on July 26.

Senese is the university’s 10th president and has served as acting president since the retirement of William J. Lennox Jr. on April 30.

Saint Leo University has eight locations in Virginia, including one in Newport News, one in Langley Air Force Base, and one in Virginia Beach.

Before taking on the role as president, Senese was the university’s first provost and senior vice president of Academic and Student Affairs.

He provided oversight of all educational programs offered at the main campus, at its 35 education centers and online. according to a news release from the university.

“Although Jeff was named as acting president just three months ago, his leadership and forward thinking made it clear to the Board of Trustees that we could not find a better fit for our next president,” said Mary O’ Keefe, board chairwoman. “He has spearheaded the reorganization of senior leadership, created plans for campus expansion and transformed the new strategic plan into an action plan that will lead Saint Leo University into the next stage of growth nationally and internationally.”

Prior to coming to Saint Leo University, Senese served as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Cardinal Stritch University, one of the nation’s largest Franciscan universities, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He has held similar academic positions throughout his career, including: vice provost, vice president of academic affairs, and professor at Johnson & Wales University (Providence, Rhode Island); vice president of academic affairs, dean of faculty, and professor at Philadelphia University; vice president of academic affairs and professor at Mount Ida College (Newton, Massachusetts); chief academic officer and director of academic affairs at Penn State Wilkes-Barre; and other faculty positions.

“When I came to Saint Leo University as provost in January, I knew we had great history and a two-decade tradition of cutting edge leadership,” Senese said. “I am now more confident than ever that we stand on the edge of greatness. The faculty and staff welcome innovation, challenge status quo and believe every year brings the opportunity to be better than before. I consider it a privilege to lead Saint Leo’s next phase of innovative and expansion.”

Senese will serve as the university's 10th president. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Saint Leo University)
Senese will serve as the university’s 10th president. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Saint Leo University)

Senese earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Pennsylvania State University; a master’s degree in criminology from Indiana State University; and a PhD in criminal justice/research methods/statistics from Michigan State University.

He also completed the Institute for Higher Education Management at Harvard University and the Academic Management Institute at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in Boulder, Colorado, as well as the Pennsylvania State University Leadership Academy.

To learn more about Saint Leo University and its Virginia teaching locations, click here.

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