Monsignor Joseph R. Reilly Appointed President of Seton Hall University

Apr 3, 2024

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 by University Relations

After a wide-ranging search, the Seton Hall Board of Regents has voted to appoint Monsignor Joseph R. Reilly, S.T.L., Ph.D., to serve as the University’s 22nd president.

Monsignor Reilly brings to the presidency a deep knowledge of Catholic higher education, impressive administrative skills and personal experience as a Seton Hall student, alumnus, faculty member, administrator and priest.

“There is no one better suited to leading the University at this moment — a time when Seton Hall stands at the cusp of extraordinary progress,” said Hank D’Alessandro ’85, chair of the Board of Regents and the Presidential Search Committee.

“Monsignor Reilly was the ideal choice,” D’Alessandro added. “He possesses a deep faith in God and a demonstrable commitment to nurturing our students to greatness as we advance among the nation’s foremost Catholic universities.”

A Mountainside, N.J. native, Monsignor Reilly attended Seton Hall Prep and graduated from the University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1991 and returned to his alma mater in 2002 as Rector of the College Seminary at St. Andrew’s Hall.

In 2012, he was named Rector/Dean of the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, where he served until 2022. During this period, he helped strengthen the University’s Catholic foundation as a member of the Board of Trustees. After a yearlong sabbatical, he undertook his most recent post as Vice Provost of Academics and Catholic Identity.

“I am both profoundly grateful and exceedingly energized to take up the responsibilities of service as the University’s 22nd president,” Monsignor Reilly said. “Seton Hall is the place where I have come to know the truth about God, about who I am before God, and about what contribution to society that God is inviting me to make. Since 1856, countless others have had a similar experience. I cannot wait to engage our community as together we strive to bring new life to the timeless Catholic mission that makes Seton Hall unique among American universities.”

Monsignor Reilly was selected after an eight-month search by a subcommittee of the Board of Regents with input from a diverse cross-section of the University community. Seton Hall received additional guidance from Washington D.C.-based executive recruitment firm AGB Search.

This appointment marks the return of a priest-president to Seton Hall, which has been a hallmark of the University for 146 years of its 168-year history.

“In my service with Monsignor Reilly on the Board of Trustees, he impressed me with his abiding faith, keen intellect and genuine care for the entire University,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., archbishop of Newark, Chair of the Board of Trustees and President of the Board of Regents. “I am confident he will be an outstanding president.”

Monsignor Reilly has played key roles in multiple pontificates. St. John Paul II named him a chaplain to His Holiness in 2005 and Pope Francis appointed him a Missionary of Mercy in 2015. In addition, he has served the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a member of the Faithful Citizenship Strategy Committee and the Catholic Social Teaching Task Force.

He holds a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from Pontificio Istituto Teresianum in Rome; and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Fordham University.

Katia Passerini, Ph.D., has served the University as interim president since July 2023. In the intervening months, she has led the continued implementation of the University’s strategic plan; helped to guide a faculty compensation study; and advanced several initiatives to enhance Seton Hall’s international reach and scope. After Monsignor Reilly assumes the presidency on July 1, Interim President Passerini will return to her role as provost and executive vice president.

“I thank Interim President Passerini for her excellent leadership over the last eight months,” D’Alessandro said. “My gratitude also goes to Cardinal Tobin for his guidance throughout the search process and to the members of the presidential search committee, who devoted countless hours to ensuring Seton Hall will have a truly exceptional president.”

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