Reaccreditation, capital improvements and leading the College through a global health crisis.
Over the past three years, Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., has certainly proven his leadership abilities, and as a result, the College’s Board of Trustees recently announced the extended appointment of Dr. Boomgaarden for an additional five years. He will continue to lead the College through June 2025.
“Being reappointed as President of St. Joseph’s is a great honor,” said Dr. Boomgaarden. “I am grateful to the Board of Trustees, the Sisters of St Joseph, and to the entire College community, for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful institution.”
Dr. Boomgaarden hit the ground running when he took helm of St. Joseph’s in 2017. First up was leading the College’s successful reaccreditation efforts with the Middle States Commission of Higher Education. Following this, he oversaw the creation of SJC’s Strategic Plan, “Living our Mission,” which launched this year and was created with broad community interaction and support.
Since his arrival, Dr. Boomgaarden has dramatically improved SJC’s financial condition, securing a bright future for the College. Under his leadership, the College’s endowment has grown from $20 million to nearly $50 million, and enrollment has significantly increased, reaching a record high last year that was unequaled for at least a decade.
“I have had the opportunity to work closely with President Boomgaarden during some of the most chaotic and trying times we have faced in recent memory,” said Eileen White Jahn, Ph.D., executive dean at SJC Long Island. “His leadership and decision making have always been calm, clear and consistent with our mission. I am so proud to be part of this leadership team, and so relieved that President Boomgaarden has signed on for another five years.”
Also during Dr. Boomgaarden’s tenure, the College’s U.S. News & World Report rankings rose from 72nd to 59th in the category of Regional Universities North, and advancement efforts have prospered, with a nearly 70 percent increase in gifts and grants.
“Dr. Boomgaarden has proven himself to be a leader of great ability and deep devotion to the mission of the College,” said Christopher R. Carroll, ’88, Esq., chair of SJC’s Board of Trustees. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside Dr. Boomgaarden and to see what the future holds for St. Joseph’s College under his leadership.”
Speaking frequently as an industry leader, Dr. Boomgaarden’s public presence has increased visibility for the College. In 2019, Dr. Boomgaarden began moderating a series of television segments for the Catholic Faith Network. “Living Our Mission” highlights the College and explores issues in higher education. Dr. Boomgaarden also holds performances and recitals as a distinguished concert pianist. An accomplished fiddler, he also enjoys leading a student folk music group and teaches classes in American Roots music on campus.
All that Dr. Boomgaarden is doing for SJC has earned him recognition from his peers. He was recently appointed to the steering committee of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education (LIRACHE) and named as chair to the Superintendents and College President’s Partnership. He was also named to the “Brooklyn Power 100” list of most influential Brooklynites for two consecutive years. This year, he was selected to serve as chair of the Lower Hudson Valley Consortium of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
“As the chair of the Board of Trustees and an alumnus of SJC, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my alma mater,” Mr. Carroll said. “Working with Dr. Boomgaarden has been a truly rewarding experience.”
Dedicated to improving all areas of SJC, Dr. Boomgaarden has worked hard to increase the morale of faculty and staff. He brought the College’s Rank and Tenure policies into line with best practices, increased faculty and staff compensation and benefits, and filled several critical leadership positions, including a new provost and vice president for academic affairs, two new executive deans, a vice president for institutional advancement and an associate vice president of student life for SJC Long Island. Dr. Boomgaarden also identified four new candidates for the Board of Trustees.
“The opportunity to work with President Boomgaarden was one of the main reasons I applied for the executive dean position at SJC Brooklyn,” said Phillip Dehne, Ph.D., executive dean-elect for SJC Brooklyn. “As the COVID crisis has brought so much instability to higher education, I feel SJC is lucky to be able to rely on the continuation of Dr. Boomgaarden’s leadership.”
Looking toward the future of SJC, Dr. Boomgaarden has overseen capital improvement projects on both campuses, including a new HVAC system for The Muriel & Virginia Pless Center for Performing Arts at SJC Long Island, new distance classrooms on both campuses, upgraded classrooms and meeting rooms on both campuses, and major ongoing renovations to SJC Brooklyn’s Dillon Child Study Center. He is now overseeing the creation of a new state-of-the-art student center at SJC Long Island.