President, Saint Peter’s University
Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., is the 22nd president of Saint Peter’s University. Under Dr. Cornacchia’s leadership, Saint Peter’s has expanded its highly regarded undergraduate and graduate programs, initiated the institution’s first doctoral programs, and established three of the four schools at the University including the Frank J. Guarini School of Business, a School of Nursing and the Caulfield School of Education. Dr. Cornacchia was also instrumental to Saint Peter’s achieving university status and assuming responsibility for St. Aedan’s Church, transitioning the parish church into a university church. St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s University Church enables the University to provide appropriate worship and programmatic space to the Saint Peter’s family and its surrounding community.
In addition, Dr. Cornacchia has set fundraising records, securing $64.7 million for Students at the Center: The Campaign for Saint Peter’s University in 2014 and with the University’s latest campaign, Peacocks Rise: The Campaign for Saint Peter’s University. Peacocks Rise celebrated its public launch in December 2022 with $70 million secured during its quiet phase, making it the largest and most successful campaign to date in the University’s history.
Dr. Cornacchia attended Fordham University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976, a Master’s degree in political science in 1979 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1985. Prior to becoming the first lay president of Saint Peter’s and after many years of teaching at the University, Dr. Cornacchia served as academic dean and subsequently as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Dr. Cornacchia regularly devotes his time to many civic leadership organizations. He is a member of the board of directors of the Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey (ICUNJ), a board member and vice chair of the CarePoint Health Foundation, and a member of the advisory board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. In addition, Dr. Cornacchia serves on the New Jersey Presidents Council, and is a member of the board for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, AJCU, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). He has chaired numerous accreditation team visits for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. He is also a Third Degree Knight of Columbus.
Dr. Cornacchia and his wife, AnnMarie, have two daughters, Lauren and Katherine, and three grandchildren, Ava, Zachary and Maximilian.