Update:  March 15, 2023

Madonna University Names Eighth President

Christopher Dougherty, Ph.D., by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees, will become the eighth president ofDr. Chris Dougherty Madonna University effective July 1, 2023. Dougherty will succeed Interim President Ian Day in guiding the 2,100-student liberal arts University in Livonia, Michigan.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Madonna University community. I was drawn to the University’s Felician Franciscan tradition, which was evident in my interactions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and the Felician Sisters during the search process,” Dougherty said. “The range of programs, experiences, and opportunities for learners at Madonna University is exceptional.  The spirit and beauty of the campus and surrounding area complement the University’s mission and outreach to partner institutions and learners across the lifespan and around the globe.”

D.J. Boyd, Madonna University board chair and vice-chair of the presidential search committee, was pleased with Dougherty’s selection. “Chris is a mission-driven, servant leader with a strong commitment to academic excellence. His breadth of experience in the many facets of independent Catholic university administration, coupled with his deep faith and respect for our Felician Franciscan mission, will serve him well and enable him to quickly acclimate to his new role,” Boyd said. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I welcome Chris and his family to the Madonna community.”

With more than 30 years of higher education experience, Dougherty brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership, fundraising, enrollment management, mission integration, and student affairs at several colleges and universities. He holds an earned doctorate in higher education and a minor in sociology from the Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in English with a minor in Spanish from Saint Joseph’s University.

Dougherty comes to Madonna University from Chestnut Hill College, in Philadelphia, where he serves as associate professor of business after having served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty from 2017 through January 2023.

In his role as vice president Dougherty introduced the first fully-online programs at Chestnut Hill College, and launched several new graduate and undergraduate programs, such as, cybersecurity, health sciences, special education, and organizational leadership. In 2020, Dougherty was project director and awardee for a $2.2 million, Title III Department of Education, five-year grant for the Strengthening Institutions Program.

Prior to his work at Chestnut Hill, Dougherty served as provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Rosemont College, in Pennsylvania, from 2011-2017, which included two years as interim vice president of enrollment management. Under his leadership Rosemont saw increases in undergraduate (24.5%) and graduate (7.7%) enrollments. He also led the development of student life and athletics programs.

While at Rutgers University-Camden, from 2004-2011, Dougherty expanded University College-Camden (UCC) undergraduate enrollment from 600 to over 1,000 students via a range of outreach, veterans’ services, and academic support programs, including making UCC the first and only Servicemembers Opportunity College across all of Rutgers University.

Dougherty has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in data analytics, research methods, and probability and statistics. His research interests include adult learning, student learning assessment, continuing education, and professional development, and he has presented at numerous conferences and been published on these topics as well.

As a servant leader, Dougherty has shared his time and talent as president of the Association of Continuing Higher Education, and as board chair and advancement committee chair at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware.

Madonna’s new president enjoys running and biking, and has raced competitively in middle- and long-distance events as recently as 2021, including the 2002 and 2012 Boston Marathons, the 2014 USA Track and Field (USATF) Masters Cross County National championships, and multiple USATF Mid-Atlantic Road Series events. 

A lifelong Roman Catholic, Dougherty grew up in Glenolden Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. He and Joanne, married 31 years, live in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, and are the proud parents of Madeleine, a master’s student at Chestnut Hill College, and Isabel, an undergraduate student at Penn State University. The Doughertys also share their home with two pugs, Wybie and Beeb, brothers rescued by Joanne in 2018.

“Joanne and I are excited about the opportunity to make our family home in the Livonia area and to enjoy the many aspects of life at Madonna University,” Dougherty said.

Madonna’s Interim President Ian Day was appointed in February 2022 and Dougherty’s appointment is the result of a six-month, nationwide, presidential search.

About Madonna: Liberal arts education, career preparation, and service-learning have been the hallmarks of a Madonna University education for 85 years. In addition to the beautiful main campus, conveniently located at I-96 and Levan Road in Livonia, Madonna offers academic programs in Gaylord, Macomb, and online in Haiti and the United Arab Emirates. Michigan’s most affordable, independent Catholic liberal arts university, Madonna offers more than 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Nursing and Health, as well as the School of Business. Learn more at www.madonna.edu.

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Update:  February 1, 2023

Presidential Candidate Campus Visit Schedule

Each candidate's curriculum vitae and a link to a feedback survey will be posted in the Candidate Information section in the left navigation of this page.. 

Visit Date(s) Time Meeting Room
MONDAY, FEB. 6  7-8 pm Student Forum Franciscan Center
TUESDAY, FEB. 7  1-2 pm Staff Forum Kresge Hall 
  2-3 pm Faculty Forum Kresge Hall 
  4-5 pm Alumni, Friends, Community
Open Forum
Welcome Center
Visit Date(s) Time Meeting Room
TUESDAY, FEB. 7 7-8 pm Student Forum Franciscan Center
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 8 1-2 pm Staff Forum Kresge Hall
  2-3 pm Faculty Forum Kresge Hall 
  4-5 pm Alumni, Friends, Community
Open Forum
Welcome Center
Visit Date(s) Time Meeting Room
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 8 7-8 pm Student Forum Franciscan Center
THURSDAY, FEB. 9 1-2 pm Staff Forum Kresge Hall 
  2-3 pm Faculty Forum Kresge Hall 
  4-5 pm Alumni, Friends, Community
Open Forum
Welcome Center
Visit Date(s) Time Meeting Room
THURSDAY, FEB. 9 7-8 pm  Student Forum Franciscan Center
FRIDAY, FEB. 10 1-2 pm Staff Forum Kresge Hall 
  2-3 pm Faculty Forum Kresge Hall 
  4-5 pm Alumni, Friends, Community
Open Forum
Welcome Center

Update:  January 27, 2023

Dear Madonna University Community,

The presidential search committee is excited to announce upcoming on-campus interviews with candidates being considered for Madonna University’s next president. The days and times of the interviews are being finalized and will take place the week of February 6 or thereabouts. As members of the Madonna community, you will be provided an opportunity, during these campus visits, to see and engage with the candidates. Specific times for these meetings will be forthcoming. We look forward to as many of you as possible being able to participate in these interviews. We appreciate your interest and participation in the process.

Update:  December 19, 2022

Dear Madonna University Community,

Since September, our executive search consultants, RPA Inc., have been conducting national recruitment to bring the presidential search committee a robust pool of candidates. Recently, the search committee received those candidates and began their review. This phase of the process, which includes interviews with the search committee, will continue through January 2023 with on-campus interviews to be scheduled in the early part of the spring semester. More information about how the Madonna University on- and off-campus community will be involved in those campus visits will be shared closer to that time.

Update:  September 1, 2022

Dear Madonna University Community,

On behalf of the Madonna University Board of Trustees, we are proud to announce that a national search for the University's next president will launch this fall.  This is an exciting and important time in Madonna’s history with both challenges and opportunities before us.  Madonna’s eighth president will lead us into the future as we continue to live the Felician-Franciscan Mission.  The search process will be inclusive, comprehensive, and collaborative.

The presidential search committee reflects a cross representation of the Madonna University community---trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, Felician Sisters, and the local community.   The committee, with guidance from RPA Inc, the search firm, will focus on facilitating a thorough search process to choose a new president who will further help our University maximize its resources, reputation, and tradition in support of students.   

To begin the process, we are pleased to announce the following members of the search committee: 

Presidential Search Committee Members

Sr. Aquinas Szott, Chair Felician Sister, Madonna University Trustee, Ministry Advisor, Felician Services Inc.
David (D.J.) Boyd, Vice Chair Madonna University Board Chair, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments
Clifford Camp Madonna University Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Emily DeHaan Madonna University Graduate Student, Alumna '22
Irena Glover Assistant Professor, Madonna University College of Education & Human Development
Sr. Nancy Jamroz Co-Director of the Madonna University Center for Catholic Studies and Interfaith Dialogue
Nermine Atteya Professor, Madonna University
School of Business
Michael Obloy Madonna University Trustee, President, Special Drill and Reamer Corp.
Roxanne Roth Assistant Professor, Madonna University College of Nursing & Health
Willie Sawyer Secretary, Madonna University Student Senate, Class of 2024         
Leonard Suchyta Of Counsel
Susan Toma Associate Dean, Madonna University College of Arts & Sciences
Dan West President & CEO Livonia Chamber of Commerce
James Woodworth Alumnus ’04, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Success Mortgage Group
Sandra Oswalt, Secretary to the Committee Senior Coordinator, Madonna University School of Business
Karen Sanborn, Communications Madonna University Executive Director of Communications & Events

The Board has retained the services of RPA Inc., one of the leading national executive recruitment and consulting firms for higher education. To initiate our collaborative process, team members from RPA Inc. will be visiting campus this September to hear from the on- and off-campus community to better understand who we are and where we are headed. More information about these visits will be sent soon.

The search committee, together with our consultants, will focus on the following priorities:

  • Develop a leadership profile of our next president based on input from the Madonna University community
  • Evaluate potential candidates
  • Recommend to the Board of trustees qualified finalists for consideration

The fiduciary and legal responsibility to select and hire the next president rests with the Board of Trustees.

As search committee chair, I will serve as spokesperson for the committee and will share updates periodically with the campus community. 
Questions or comments can be directed to presidentialsearch@madonna.edu

Our thanks to all who have agreed to serve on the committee for their commitment to this process and to Madonna University.  

Peace and All Good,

Sr. Aquinas Szott
Chair of the Madonna University Presidential Search Committee

D.J. Boyd
Vice-Chair of the Madonna University Presidential Search Committee

Update:  June 21, 2022

The Madonna University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the upcoming presidential search, with the goal of selecting the 8th president of Madonna University by spring of 2023. The University has partnered with RPA Inc., a nationally recognized executive recruitment firm in higher education, to assist the Board and search committee in their work to identify Madonna's next president. At this time in our 85-year history, challenges and opportunities are before us. Choosing the next president will advance our future as we continue to actualize our Mission.

We thank the members of the Presidential Search Firm Selection Committee for their diligent work in recommending our search firm. Members included: Jesse Cox, Dr. Deborah Dunn, Tracey Durden, Victor Lauria, Trustees DJ Boyd, Michael Obloy, Sr. Aquinas Szott, and of counsel Len Suchyta.

Trustee and Felician Sister Aquinas Szott has been appointed chair of the Presidential Search Committee. She will serve as committee spokesperson and periodically will issue updates to the campus community.

The search committee, which will be appointed over the summer months, will receive stakeholder feedback during this important search process. As we approach the fall semester, additional information will be shared regarding how to provide your thoughts to RPA Inc. through listening sessions that will be conducted on campus, as well as through an online survey.

When the search launches, and as it progresses, the search committee will post a prospectus, timelines, and updates to a presidential search webpage for the campus and external community. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

For Madonna,

D.J. Boyd
Chair, Madonna University Board of Trustees