President, Saint Joseph’s University
Cheryl A. McConnell, Ph.D. was named president of Saint Joseph’s University on March 10, 2023. She previously served as interim president following a three-year tenure as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. In that role, Dr. McConnell oversaw the University’s academic enterprise with a particular focus on expanding the academic portfolio to meet market need and student demand. Most recently, she led the historic integration of the University of the Sciences into Saint Joseph’s, coordinating the acquisition of dozens of academic programs in health and science, along with state-of-the-art campus facilities.
A primary area of focus for Dr. McConnell in recent years has been the assurance of instructional continuity in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, a role that required constant coordination among divisions within the University and local health officials. Saint Joseph’s was a frontrunner in Covid-19 response and was among the first universities regionally to return to on-ground operations.
Prior to joining Saint Joseph’s, Dr. McConnell was the Dean of the College of Business, Influence, and Information Analysis and the Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University, where she was also the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, responsible for academic support areas and programs. In her academic roles at Rockhurst, she was active in the business community and with regional organizations in Kansas City, MO.
Dr. McConnell is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Rockhurst University Faculty of the Year Award, the Helzberg School of Management Perfect Professor Award, and the Rockhurst University Excellence in Teaching Award.
After earning her Master of Professional Accountancy degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Accounting from Wichita State University, Dr. McConnell earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Dr. McConnell has published or presented more than 100 articles, papers or workshops, and she researches and speaks on higher education issues, gender issues related to career advancement and performance reviews, and the need for ethical leadership in a time of change and uncertainty.