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Patrick F. Leahy, Ed.D. Biography

A portrait of Patrick F. Leahy

Patrick F. Leahy joined Monmouth University as president on August 1, 2019. He was unanimously selected by the Board of Trustees and members of the Presidential Search Committee following a comprehensive nationwide search.

As Monmouth’s 10th president, Leahy has navigated through a global pandemic, secured the largest private philanthropic gift in University history—$21 million for direct scholarship support—and implemented an ambitious five-year strategic plan, “Excellence. Access. Ambition.” to chart a course toward being a national leader in integrating academic excellence and student access to education.

As chair of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music, Leahy has helped launch the American Music Honors, bringing legendary performers to campus, garnering international media coverage, and supercharging fundraising effort for the Center.

During his tenure Monmouth University has reached its highest “U.S. News & World Report ranking, jumping 11 places from 28 to 17 in three years, and welcomed its most diverse and academically prepared classes in the school’s history—setting new year-over-year benchmarks in almost all measures. Recognition for Monmouth’s upward academic trajectory has included accolades in “Washington Monthly’s” Master’s University and Best Bang for the Buck Colleges: Northeast lists; “Money” magazine’s Best Colleges for Your Money; inclusion on the “Forbes” list of “America’s Top Colleges”; and continued inclusion on Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” list.

Bolstering graduate studies, Leahy has championed two new doctoral programs, including the Doctor of Occupational Therapy, which enrolled its first class in 2021, and the Doctor of Social Work in Human Rights Leadership, which welcomed its first cohort in 2023.

He has also engaged Monmouth in national conversations on racial justice. With the full support of the Board of Trustees, the University removed Woodrow Wilson’s name from its signature administrative center, and established a permanently endowed Diversity Initiatives Fund, with an initial allocation of $3 million. In 2021, Leahy secured funding to launch the Social Justice Academy, an initiative operating out of The School of Education to provide direct support to K-12 school systems in Monmouth and Ocean counties for their ongoing social justice education and curriculum development efforts.

As president, Leahy has significantly restructured the academic alignment of the university, promoting the provost to a senior vice president position, and adding deans and departmental leaders to the president’s advisory council to expand the range of perspectives in the strategic decision-making process.

His external leadership positions include a two-year term on the board of National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, serving as a member of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Higher Education Restart Advisory Group.  He has also been recognized on the “ROI-NJ” Higher Ed President Honor Roll, and for three consecutive years on the “ROI-NJ” Influencer list, as well as the “NJBIZ” Power 50 Education list for several years. Leahy was named as a Top 50 Leader in Higher Education by The National Diversity Council at the 17th Annual National Diversity & Leadership Conference.

Leahy also served as vice president of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference before accepting an invitation for Monmouth to join the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) in 2022. With the move to the CAA Monmouth joined one of the top mid-major athletic conferences in the country, alongside some of the most distinguished institutions on the East Coast. Leahy also spearheaded the effort to add women’s rowing as Monmouth’s 24th NCAA Division I sport.

Leahy has also made investment in student-facing campus facilities a priority, with recent examples including dedicated facilities for the Intercultural Center; the Linda Grunin Simulation Lab and Learning Center, a joint partnership between Monmouth University and Monmouth Medical Center, at the Monmouth Graduate Center; five new state-of-the-art Occupational Therapy Laboratories; and the opening of the Parton Broadcasting Center, located on the second floor the OceanFirst Bank Center. The new control room provides hands-on experience for our team of student videographers, editors, and camera operators who are able to help showcase the accomplishments of our student athletes on a variety of digital broadcast platforms.

At the heart of campus, Leahy has transformed the Great Hall into a welcoming, vibrant, student-friendly space allowing for social interaction, studying, and relaxing. Along with careful restoration inside and out, the Great Hall has reclaimed its original purpose as a hub and showcase for student success.

Prior to joining Monmouth, Leahy served a successful seven-year term as president of Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. At Wilkes, Leahy was instrumental in the development of the “Gateway to the Future Strategic Plan,” which included: the introduction of 20 new academic programs and the university’s first honors program; the launch of the university’s first Ph.D. program; more than $100 million in transformative campus enhancements; and strategic investments in faculty scholarship and research. During his tenure, Wilkes earned the distinction of becoming a Doctoral/Professional University under the Carnegie Classifications. He also led the introduction of seven new NCAA Division III athletic teams and the region’s only collegiate marching band.

Prior to his time at Wilkes, Leahy was a senior administrative leader at The University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He first served as vice president for university relations, successfully completing a $129 million comprehensive capital campaign. He was then promoted to executive vice president, where he was responsible for development, government relations, undergraduate and graduate enrollment, intercollegiate athletics, planning, and information technology. Leahy also taught in the Business Leadership Honors Program.

Before moving to Scranton, Leahy was co-founder and president of the Business Affairs Forum, a 15,000-member distance learning community for alumni of the nation’s MBA programs. He has also worked as an investment officer for a venture capital firm, as an account executive for a Fortune 500 company, and as a development officer for his alma mater, Georgetown University.

A native of Towson, Maryland, Leahy holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Georgetown University, where he spent his junior year abroad at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland. He earned two master’s degrees from Cornell University in business administration and in labor relations, where he was both a Fried Fellow and a CEED Fellow. In 2009, he earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania, focusing his dissertation research on organizational change in higher education. Leahy and his wife, Amy, have four children: Grace, Molly, Jack, and Brian.