Bonilla-Santiago — a board of governors distinguished service professor in the Graduate Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers — is the force behind the launch of LEAP Academy University Charter School, a Camden success story. As New Jersey’s oldest charter school, the institution has achieved 100% graduation and college placement for more than 15 years, with alumni going on to such schools as Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Cornell University and Rutgers University. LEAP has extended its successful urban learning formula to Puerto Rico under the LEAP STEAM + E (for Entrepreneurship) banner. Serving 780 students in Sabanallana, the school was established in partnership with Rutgers and Sagrado Corazón University. LEAP is also doing work in Paraguay with UNA University as part of an initiative with the United States Agency for International Development and Rutgers. As a leading scholar, researcher, speaker, and international cross-cultural training consultant, Bonilla-Santiago has more than 25 years of experience in program development and innovation, social entrepreneurship, research, fundraising, strategic planning, school development and leadership training. She writes and speaks widely on the areas of community development, public policy, school leadership and education, migration, diversity management and organizational leadership.
Boscamp serves as co-chief academic officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, with responsibilities that include developing, promoting and organizing programs to promote lifelong learning across the continuum of undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education and continuing medical education. In January 2022, he was also appointed interim dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. A longstanding and highly regarded leader at Hackensack University Medical Center, he serves as a member of the Hackensack University Medical Center medical executive committee and the Hackensack Meridian Health board of trustees Academics Committee. Boscamp joined the then-Hackensack Medical Center in 1987. He founded the Section of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the Steven Bader Immunologic Institute and provided essential pediatric infectious diseases support to the Tomorrow’s Children’s Institute, the largest pediatric hematology-oncology program in the state of New Jersey. He achieved Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accreditation for new residencies at HUMC in pediatrics, internal medicine, urology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery and orthopedics as well as many new fellowships in internal medicine and pediatrics. Boscamp also co-chaired the search committee that brought founding Dean Bonita Stanton to the school.
Burke became executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational–Technical Schools in July 2021. Under her tenure, 15 county vocational-technical schools have used grant money to move forward with construction projects that support new and enhanced career programs, including a brand-new building for Hunterdon County Vocational School District to accommodate hun-dreds more students and add programs in high-demand industries like electrical technology and manufacturing. This summer, six schools received second-round grant funding, a combined $37 million, to support newly proposed plans to add student seats for in-demand programs that fulfill the economic needs of the county and region. Burke’s priorities include cultivating partnerships that further strengthen the Career and Technical Education experience while helping New Jersey’s 21 county vocational-technical school districts do the same. Recent examples include a meeting she organized — with county vocational school representatives and employers in the Shore Builders Association — to create mutually beneficial partnerships providing opportunities for employers to help train students and build a pipeline of highly qualified candidates to join their industry, serve as guest speakers, and offer apprenticeship and job opportunities to students. Burke continues to work with New Jersey’s community colleges and the New Jersey Business &Industry Association on their Pathway and Skills Collaborative, which maps educational and training steps for multiple in-demand career pathways from high school to community colleges and beyond.
Caldwell has been executive director of the FDU Rothman Institute of Innovation since October 2018, and he teaches the Silberman College of Business Family Business Management undergraduate class. In 2021, he was named chair of FDU’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Advisory Council. The council includes representation from all areas within the university and focuses on four key areas including: campus culture and belonging, educational programming, engagement and retention, and building diversity pipelines. Caldwell’s research focus is on the creation of “Entrepreneur Zones” in New Jersey. He developed this concept to provide a structured approach to increasing urban entrepreneurship and job creation, and his work led to the passing of legislation creating the New Jersey Entrepreneur Zone Working Group that he is chairing. Before joining Rothman, Caldwell was the CEO of Strategic Influence LLC, an entrepreneurial organization that used an “Intelligent Influence” framework that he created to provide strategy, operations, coaching, business development and leadership training to clients. Caldwell is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking “Intelligent Influence: The 4 Steps of Highly Successful Leaders and Organizations;” and he has extensive experience serving on school boards.
As chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark, Cantor is recognized nationally and internationally for her leadership in emphasizing the role of universities as anchor institutions in their communities, forging diverse, cross-sector collaboratives and leveraging publicly engaged scholarship to advance racial equity and equitable growth. A recognized leader in the movement to get universities to focus more on serving the public good, especially within their communities, Cantor co-chaired the Newark Anchor Collaborative, a unique cross-sector collaboration of institutions committed to equitable economic growth with a racial equity lens. She is also a national leader on higher education and immigration as co-founder and steering committee co-chair for the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Cantor’s accomplishments include her role as an innovator in university-corporate partnerships, as evidenced by the recently announced Rutgers-Newark partnership with Fiserv Inc. — a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology — to create and fund a new program designed to drive diversity and innovation within the financial technology field. The Fiserv-RU-N Program for Inclusive Innovation will create a center on campus that will serve as a research and incubation space for the RU-N community and local businesses, provide annual scholarships for undergraduate students over a five-year time span, and support career modules to prepare students for internships and jobs.
Upon his appointment as the eighth president of Fairleigh Dickinson University in July 2016, Capuano assumed the challenge of overseeing a new strategic plan that had started the year prior, when he was university provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. Under his tenure, FDU has created additional centers of excellence, embarked on a historic capital campaign, and maintained a strong focus on its goal of fostering access and affordability for students from all walks of life. He is also leading FDU in developing a new five-year institutional strategic plan. This roadmap for the future promises to enhance nearly every facet of the university and will further realize FDU’s vision of being one university with four distinctive campuses, as well as providing more innovative programs and services that address students’ current and emerging needs. Recent initiatives include a four-year hospitality and tourism degree based fully onsite at luxury resorts with coursework that is primarily online, enabling students to earn a paycheck while participating in structured work experiences and building industry connections before they even graduate. And a partnership with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in England provides an extraordinary immersive residential program for students studying at FDU’s Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, England, enabling aspiring actors and students interested in theater production and arts management to take courses at the RSC with RSC artists and theater professionals.
In addition to serving as dean at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Cavalieri is a professor of medicine and osteopathic heritage endowed chair for primary care research. He was founding director of the Center of Aging — which grew to become the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology-New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at Rowan — and under his guidance, the school has been recognized for more than 15 years by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best schools for geriatric medical education. Cavalieri is currently facilitating the school’s undergraduate medical education curriculum, class size expansion and an additional location of the medical school: In July, county, health care and Rowan University officials gathered to celebrate the historic opening of the Sewell campus of the Virtua Health College of Health Medicine and Health Sciences of Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. Earlier this year, Virtua Health and Rowan University announced the signing of an affiliation agreement to create a new academic health system and to further distinguish South Jersey as a regional hub for innovation, research and clinical discovery.
Conway — a scholar and award-winning clinical psychologist widely recognized for her work in child psychopathology — was appointed chancellor-provost of Rutgers University–New Brunswick in July 2021. She is also a distinguished professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, where she served as dean from 2016 to 2020. During the 2021-22 academic year, Conway led the development of the Rutgers–New Brunswick Academic Master Plan, a roadmap for the institution’s future that is based on Four Pillars of Excellence: Scholarly Leadership, Innovative Research, Student Success and Community Engagement. She is now leading lead the implementation of the Academic Master Plan with existing, new and transformative initiatives. Conway’s other initiatives include the Scarlet Guarantee, which complements the State of New Jersey’s Garden State Guarantee to make college more accessible and affordable. She also led Rutgers–New Brunswick’s partnership with COACHE, the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, for a faculty job satisfaction survey and the implementation of its recommendations; and she led the creation of the Provost’s Teaching Fellows Program, which supports faculty innovation aimed at improving student outcomes. Conway has also embraced a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive environment for faculty, staff and students, including recruitment of faculty from underrepresented demographics, and ensuring pathways to success for talented students from diverse and at-risk backgrounds.
Under Cornacchia’s leadership, Saint Peter’s University has expanded its undergraduate and graduate programs, initiated its first doctoral programs and established a School of Nursing along with the Caulfield School of Education. And the expansion has continued, with the 2021 opening of the Run Baby Run Arena, a modern basketball/volleyball venue; the recently completed construction of a new six-story residence hall; and the new Frank J. Guarini School of Business, featuring the construction of state-of-the-art labs, innovation hubs, collaborative workspaces and a new entrance. Students will also be offered new opportunities through a student investment fund, lecture series, internship programs, a study abroad fund and increased investments in the school’s institutes and centers such as the Ignite Institute and the Center for Leadership Studies. Cornacchia is also involved with many civic leader-ship organizations and is a member of the board of directors of the Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey, a board member and vice chair of the CarePoint Health Foundation and a member of the advisory board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties.
Since 2015, Custard has led the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, an organization that partners with national and New Jersey-based nonprofits, K-12 schools and other strategic stakeholders to prepare young adults for the increasingly competitive worlds of college and careers. She is also deeply involved in with the foundation’s flagship program, Jobs for New Jersey Graduates, which in July received national honors for its work assisting high school students – once considered at-risk for dropping out of school – to graduate and go on to succeed in full-time jobs, the military or post-secondary education. The event represented the first time in its 11-year history that JAG NJ received the “5 of 5 Award” for all of its programs, the highest honor bestowed by the national organization Jobs for America’s Graduates. Custard’s educational and other activities include serving on the U.S. Chamber of Com-merce Education, Employment and Training Committee, New Jersey’s STEM Pathways Network, NJDOE Career and Technical Education Advisory Council, NJBIA’s Post-Secondary Education Taskforce, and she is a member of the Burlington Township School Board and the town’s Planning Board. Custard has also been recognized as a Fellow by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Elite Business Leads Fellowship Program.
DeAlmeida has served as president of Associated Builders and Contractors New Jersey Chapter since April 2021, representing merit shop construction and construction-related firms throughout the state. With more than 1,200 member companies “and growing,” ABC-NJ is the largest ABC chapter in the country. Under her tenure, ABC-NJ continues to partner with organizations like the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey to reach individuals in under-served urban communities, introducing them to career paths in the trades and offering opportunities for apprenticeships. DeAlmeida also wants to move beyond the traditional high school audience that is typically targeted by trade schools, expanding connections with students in middle school and earlier grades, and with young women. Under her tenure, ABC-NJ continues to expand its U.S. Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship program, where individuals can get valuable training in one of 19 trades — including electrical, carpentry, plumbing and truck driver — earning wages while they learn and graduating with no student debt. DeAlmeida’s commitment to education is reflected in her own background: an adjunct political science professor at Brookdale Community College, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, a master’s degree in public policy and a second master’s in homeland security from Monmouth University.
Dell’Omo became Rider University’s seventh president in August 2015, joining Rider after 10 years as the seventh president of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh where he oversaw that institution’s unparalleled growth. Since his arrival, Rider has developed more than a dozen new undergraduate and graduate academic programs, including the University’s first doctoral program in Educational Leadership, offered for the first time in summer 2017. In 2020, under Dell’Omo’s leadership, Rider introduced Lifting Barriers, a series of measures intended to strengthen the overall value of a Rider education, including a 22% reduction of annual undergraduate tuition, and robust sup-port for career preparation and academic success. In the spring of 2021, he led the launch of Cranberry Investment, which guarantees that Rider’s undergraduate students who fulfill their responsibilities will obtain an entry-level job related to their field of study or be accepted into graduate or professional school within six months of graduation. Under his watch, in April, Rider renamed its Science and Technology Center the Mike and Patti Hennessy Science and Technology Center, following a $9 million renovation. The university was also recently selected to receive continued funding for the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. The award totals more than $1.3 million — distributed in annual increments — and will continue the McNair program at Rider for the next five years.
John Farmer Jr.
Since 2019, Farmer has led the Eagleton Center for Politics at Rutgers, which is one of the go-to sources in the Garden State political landscape, while continuing his leadership of the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience. He has led the Miller Center since its inception in 2015. Farmer’s career spans several decades, serving in high-profile government appointments, private practice in diverse areas of criminal law, and teaching and law school administration. He served in the administration of Gov. Christie Todd Whitman in a number of roles, including as attorney general from 1999 to 2002 and senior counsel and team leader for the 9/11 Commission, which led the investigation of the country’s preparedness for and response to the terrorist attacks. He was also an author of the Commission’s final report and penned a book, “The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11.” is 1 mile from the Union train station – and Kean University – and minutes from the Garden State Parkway, Interstate 78 and Route 22, in addition to being nearby dining, shopping and entertainment options.
Since arriving at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2011, Farvardin has overseen a university-wide transformation that has resulted in a dramatic jump in rankings, stature, enrollment growth, alumni engagement, philanthropic support and modernized campus infrastructure. It is part of an effort called The Future. Ours to Create, a 10-year strategic plan that launched in 2012 with a goal of making Stevens a premier, student-centric, technological research university. Stevens met or exceeded nearly all of the goals under the initiative and has seen a 214% increase in undergraduate applications with undergraduate enrollment increasing by nearly 70%. Under Farvardin’s watch, more than $450 million in capital investments have resulted in the transformation of the campus IT enterprise from archaic to state-of-the-art, and the renovation, modernization and expansion of a large percentage of Steven’s academic and student spaces. The new 21-story University Center Complex opened this past spring. Farvardin also serves in leadership positions on a number of technology, higher education and business-oriented organizations, including as chairman of the New Jersey President’s Council Task Force on Alignment of Higher Education Programs and New Jersey Workforce Needs. In 2018, he was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology.
As president of the New Jersey Council of County College, Fichtner oversees a nonprofit that supports and strengthens the state’s 18 community colleges, which now enroll more than 300,000 stu-dents each year in credit, non-credit and workforce development programs at over 70 campuses throughout the state. Of that figure, nearly 100,000 students are enrolled in non-credit programs and partner with thousands of businesses to meet their training and workforce needs. He has served in the role since 2018. “The primary goal of New Jersey’s 18 community colleges is to meet the ever-changing educational needs of our great state’s residents,” Fichtner writes on the NJCCC website. “Today, through more than 1,700 degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit courses and customized workforce training programs, we are helping more students than ever.” Previously, Fichtner spent much of the 2010s with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Work-force Development, serving as commissioner from September 2016 to January 2018, a position he was appointed to by former Gov. Chris Christie. Fichtner also spent several years working on urban planning projects in Atlanta and Jersey City before joining Rutgers University in 1997 as the director of research and evaluation at the university’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
“My experience as a planner has been a natural fit for presidential leadership,” Foster said when she was appointed as president of The College of New Jersey in 2018. “I will bring to TCNJ an approach that involves taking a data-driven and clear-eyed assessment of current circumstances, making credible assumptions about the future, and imaginative envisioning to ensure our reach is at once bold, compelling, and ambitious, yet achievable.” And, so far, Foster has done just that. She aims to align the college’s institutional priorities with its strategy, budget, capital investment plan, marketing and programming to ensure that the school is making the most responsible and wise choices for today and tomorrow. Under her leadership, the college is addressing immediate and long-term capital improvements to its infrastructure, buildings and grounds, including the Campus Enhancement Fund and other physical investments around the campus. Her leadership has also sparked a fundraising boon with the college exceeding its goals in each year of her presidency, including during the pandemic. In fact, in 2021, despite the economic slowdown, TCNJ had its single biggest year in total dollars raised. The fundraising has led to more scholarships, academic innovation, athletic investments and faculty-student research.
Givan is a go-to source for labor issues, serving as an associate professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers as well as president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the union that represents faculty at the school. She is also regularly published on employment relations in health care, comparative welfare states and labor studies in various journals. Givan wrote a book called The Challenge to Change: Reforming Health Care on the Front Line in the United States and the United Kingdom. Recently, she has been on the frontline on issues such as abortion rights, unionization at companies such as Starbucks and Amazon, and the new normal that has been created by the pandemic. “Most people have never wanted to work and they do so because they need to live,” Givan told the New York Times in May. “Now workers are saying, ‘We’re going to hold our bosses accountable and demand more from them.’” As the voice of the faculty union, Givan regularly tussles with her own university on a wide range of issues, especially the spending of the Rutgers athletics program. A recent example was the revelation of a $450,000 DoorDash tab rung up by the athletics program.
Halkitis has had a decorated career spanning several decades. In addition to being dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, Halkitis is the founder and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies, a training site for the next generation of scholars, and partners with community agencies to conduct studies for and with the LGBTQ+ population. He is also a primary member of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. As a public health psychologist, researcher, educator and advocate, Halkitis’ research has specialized in infectious diseases to determine and target the biological, behavioral, psychosocial and structural factors that predispose HIV, HPV, COVID-19 and other pathogens. He has been fighting for the rights of those infected with and affected by HIV and has been an outspoke advocate for the rights and health of the LGBTQ+ population. Halkitis has written two books, authored over 250 peer-reviewed academic manuscripts and is regularly interviewed on television, radio, podcasts and quoted in print publications. His research program has been awarded over $30 million in grant funding. Halkitis serves on a number of advisory boards including both the New Jersey Public Health Advisory Committee and the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Advisory Committee, the Tyler Clementi Center and Safehouse.
Hancock, the president of Thomas Edison State University since 2018, is a recognized leader in administration and the delivery of innovative education programs for adult students. She believes that education is the nexus through which one’s capability is harnessed for positive personal and professional growth and societal impact. Hancock has dedicated her career to serving underrepresented populations including veterans and active-duty military members. Under her direction, the school established the TESU/NJ 3+1 Pathways Program, through which community college students can transfer up to 90 credits and then complete the remaining 30 credits required for graduation from Thomas Edison. “By partnering with New Jersey’s community colleges, we are supporting New Jersey’s families by making college more affordable while offering the education needed to obtain better jobs and economic prosperity across industries throughout the state,” Hancock said when the program was established. She also oversaw the partnership with OneTen, a national coalition of executives who are working to upskill, hire and advance 1 million Black individuals into family-sustaining careers over the next 10 years. Hancock speaks widely on topics such as strategic partnerships, pricing models and innovative teaching best practices at professional conferences and meetings. She also serves as an external reviewer for several universities, and participates in numerous self-studies, reports and evaluation visits for organizations, accreditors and agencies.
Since taking the helm at William Paterson University in 2018, Helldobler, a first-generation student of immigrant heritage, has focused his efforts on expanding access, increasing retention and completion, and making the school more equitable and inclusive. To that end, Helldobler spearheaded the launch of William Paterson’s Pledge 4 Success program, which fills the gap between tuition and fees and aid for qualifying students. He led the implementation of a first-year experience program, including Will. Power. 101, a series of student success workshops, which has resulted in gains in first-year student retention that outpaced national averages. Helldobler established the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Black Cultural Center for students. He is currently overseeing a host of new diversity and inclusion initiatives across the institution. Under his watch, the Wayne campus has expanded with the acquisition of a new building to provide space for new revenue-generating programs. He recently led the launch of WP Online, which offers 24 fully online graduate programs. And he oversaw the successful Campaign for Scholarships, which exceeded its goals, raising $16 million from a diverse group of donors; and initiated a series of innovative crowdfunding programs to benefit students. During his tenure, William Paterson has seen a jump in its external recognition, especially in the area of social mobility, a focus of Helldobler.