Sacred Heart University Names Dr. John Petillo Its Sixth President

President John Petillo

President John J. Petillo

News Story: March 1, 2011

Dr. John J. Petillo, former dean of the John F. Welch College of Business and past chancellor and CEO of Seton Hall University, has been named president of Sacred Heart University. Dr. Petillo, who has served as interim president of the University for five months, was selected after an extensive national search.

The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Petillo as the sixth president in the University’s 48-year history on the unanimous recommendation of a 15-member search committee.

“It became apparent from our own efforts and the feedback we received from many sources that Dr. Petillo was the strongest candidate for the job,” said James T. Morley, Jr., University trustee and chairman of the Search Committee. “No one could equal the expertise and vision of Dr. Petillo. We believe he will articulate, develop and implement a clear strategic plan and vision for Sacred Heart University and build on our tradition of excellence.”

President Petillo with studentsDr. Petillo has been at Sacred Heart University since March 2009. In addition to his Seton Hall experience, he previously held a number of executive positions including president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and president and CEO of the Newark Alliance, a private-public partnership of eight corporations.

“I am delighted to accept this responsibility at a school I have known for so long and whose mission I admire so much,” Dr. Petillo said. “Sacred Heart is blessed with a remarkable and hopeful energy. I look forward to working with the faculty in the spirit of collegiality and transparency as we move Sacred Heart University forward into the 21st century with a vision that is founded on our Catholic intellectual tradition.” He added, “I believe we must be student-centered, results-driven and firmly focused on the quality of education we provide. We must also continue to strengthen Sacred Heart as a Catholic university.”

President Petillo at Chapel of Holy SpiritChairman of the Board, Bishop William E. Lori said, “I am very pleased that John has been appointed president of Sacred Heart University. He has a wide range of experience in both Catholic higher education and the corporate world, and I believe he will strengthen and enhance the Catholic mission and identity of Sacred Heart University as we move forward in the face of new challenges and opportunities.”

Dr. Petillo succeeds Dr. Anthony J. Cernera, who was president of SHU from 1988 to October 2010.

Sacred Heart, which is the second-largest Catholic university in New England, has more than 6,000 undergraduates and graduate students.

For questions or more information please contact:
Director of Communications Funda Alp, 203-396-8241,
Communications Coordinator Tracy Deer-Mirek, 203-371-7751,

About Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University, the second-largest Catholic university in New England, offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs on its main campus in Fairfield, Connecticut, and satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland. More than 6,000 students attend the University’s four colleges: Arts & Sciences; Education & Health Professions; University College; and the AACSB-accredited John F. (Jack) Welch College of Business. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its guides “Best 373 Colleges: 2011,” “Best in the Northeast” and “Best 300 Business Schools: 2011.” U.S. News & World Report ranks SHU among the best master’s universities in the North in its annual “America’s Best Colleges” publication. As one of just 23 institutions nationally, SHU is a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AAC&U) Core Commitments Leadership Consortium, in recognition of its core, “The Human Journey.” SHU fields 31 division I athletic teams, and has an award-winning program of community service.