Eugene McAllister has been named interim president of St. John’s University in Collegeville by the school’s board of trustees, according to a July 29 news release from the university.
“We’re delighted to have Dr. McAllister join us for the coming year as interim president,” said Dan McKeown, chair of the board of trustees. “He appreciates and respects the Benedictine, Catholic tradition. He is also deeply committed to the value of a liberal arts education.”
McAllister follows Michael Hemesath ’81, president emeritus of St. John’s University, who announced May 21 he was stepping down Aug. 1 after seven years as president.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the St. John’s University community,” said McAllister, who served as president of the University of Great Falls in Montana from 2003 to 2016. “I knew of St. John’s extraordinary success educating students to succeed in life.”
McAllister earned his doctorate in economics from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He began his career in higher education in Florida as Jacksonville University’s vice president for financial affairs before becoming president at the University of Great Falls, where he led the school’s transformation from a local university serving mostly nontraditional students to a residential, liberal arts university.
McAllister also served the public in government positions that included stints as White House special assistant to the president and executive secretary of the Economic Policy Council and U.S. State Department assistant secretary for economic and business affairs.
“He brings a diverse resume of experience that can help us think about the future for St. John’s. He’s got a demonstrated track record of growing enrollment,” McKeown said.
“My visit (to St. John’s) just confirmed the strong sense of community and caring and dedication to the university,” said McAllister, who will serve as interim president through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. “I think St. John’s is a gem in American Catholic higher education, and I would love to help more people realize that and see that.”
The board of trustees will continue to lead the search for a permanent replacement as the 14th president of SJU.