He may have been the first lay president at St. Joseph’s College, but even without being identified as a person of the cloth, Jack P. Calareso, Ph.D., still counted on his determination and faith in God to persevere during a challenging time for the College.
“The severe challenges that hit St. Joseph’s College in 2013 were often spoke of as constituting a perfect storm, one brewing from a mix of social, demographic, economic and educational factors,” said Christopher Frost, Ph.D., senior vice president of SJC.
Dr. Calareso announced in 2016 that the 2016-2017 academic year would be his last at SJC. On July 1, he will transfer leadership of the institution to Dr. Donald R. Boomgaarden, former provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Arriving in 2014 as SJC’s seventh president, Dr. Calareso replaced S. Elizabeth A. Hill, C.S.J., J.D., who had held the position since 1997. The former president of Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts, said then that his most important goal at SJC would be to “model the values of St. Joseph’s College” in all his actions.
During three years at St. Joseph’s College, Dr. Calareso addressed the changes that would prove to be necessary for SJC to remain viable in the world of higher education. He oversaw the creation of a fully online campus through SJC Online, the addition of 23 timely majors to the College curriculum, a balanced budget, the creation of the Office of Marketing and Communications, and the plans to build a residence hall at SJC Long Island.
“With Jack’s arrival, we worked together on many projects essential to navigating very choppy waters, rooted in what we might call a ‘transitional’ strategic plan — new programs, greater efficiencies in delivering academic programs, rebooting of a doomed website project, launching of an online campus, keen attention to student success and so much more — all in three short years,” Dr. Frost said.
All About the Team
Dr. Calareso credits SJC’s recent prosperity to the College’s employees, who work tirelessly to ensure academic achievement and student success are paramount.
“Every success has been a team success, as we have worked together well to advance our goals and objectives,” said Dr. Calareso. “I am certainly proud of the leadership team we have built with so many talented women and men who are doing great things for SJC.”
In Dr. Calareso’s second year at SJC, he led the celebration of the College’s centennial. Taking part in the numerous academic lectures, cultural celebrations and religious events honoring the history of SJC, he cemented his role as president into the College’s everlasting narrative. Dr. Calareso became part of what our students, staff, alumni and faculty will celebrate for years to come. As the centennial ends, so does his time at St. Joseph’s College.
“The best memories will include the people: SJC students, alumni, trustees and colleagues,” Dr. Calareso said. “Being a part of the lives of our students has been a wonderful experience for my wife Rose and I. I will remember the people with whom I have worked and the people I have met, and how we helped the College grow and overcome so many of its challenges.”
“We all owe Jack our gratitude for the incredible progress made in moving beyond the storm,” Dr. Frost said. “As for me, I owe Jack a personal debt of gratitude for treating me as a partner in this process of righting our ship, and mapping a course for the future.”
As the SJC community says goodbye to Dr. Calareso, we wish him well and will remember fondly the Martin Luther King, Jr. message that Dr. Calareso often conveyed, stating that no matter the position we hold at this college or within the global community, we should strive to be the best at what we do.
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.