Forward Together

Monmouth University President Patrick F. Leahy reflects on how far the University has come over the past five years.

As my fifth year at Monmouth—and 20th year in academia— draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on how fortunate I am to work alongside the faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of this great University. Your unwavering commitment to serving Monmouth’s students and advancing its mission have helped our institution thrive during incredibly challenging times in higher education—including a pandemic, national protests, and seismic changes in technology and demographics.

No matter the obstacles, we’ve accomplished remarkable successes together over the past five years, beginning with the launch of our strategic plan—Excellence. Access. Ambition.—which set Monmouth on a course to being a national leader at integrating academic excellence and student access. Our progress toward that goal was underscored this academic year with our highest-ever ranking in U.S. News & World Report, new benchmarks in social mobility success from Washington Monthly, and the welcoming of the most diverse and academically prepared class in our history.

Furthermore, as we continue to serve an ever-growing percentage of Pell-eligible and first-generation students (half of Monmouth’s 2023–24 first-year class identifies as one or both), we have attracted philanthropic investment in our mission at record levels—including the largest single gift in University history—that has helped provide greater access for a highly personalized private education than ever before to deserving students.

We’ve added two new doctoral programs; enhanced our beautiful campus, including revitalizing the Great Hall; and implemented programs and initiatives to ensure that all members of our community feel welcome, valued, and supported. We’ve joined top-tier academic and athletic peers in the Coastal Athletic Association, enhancing competition for our student-athletes and bolstering Monmouth’s regional recognition and reputation.

And, our recognition is increasingly national, thanks in part to the growth and success of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, which recently hosted the second American Music Honors event—bringing to campus such world-renowned artists as John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples, Dion DiMucci, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen himself while raising more than $1 million to support the Center.

In the pages that follow, you can read about some of our more recent accomplishments, including the addition of our newest and fastest research vessel, the R/V Ocean Hawk; meet our newest Fulbright recipient; learn about the ecological influences on the art of Professor Kimberly Callas; and uncover the story behind the classic rock photography captured by Mike Frankel ’72.

Despite our challenges, these past five years have been remarkable at Monmouth, and it is thanks to our endlessly amazing students, and the dedicated professionals, passionate alumni, and tireless members of our Board who support them. The collective spirit of this community never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I look forward to working with you to accomplish even greater milestones in the years ahead as we advance Monmouth University and its mission.