The St. John’s University board of trustees announced April 15 that James Mullen Jr. has been named transitional president of the university. The announcement was made by Dan McKeown, chair of the board.
“He’s an experienced president, and he’s got a great track record in higher education,” McKeown said in a news release. “We are pleased to have Jim’s leadership and guidance to help us with this unique transitional year.”
“I’m tremendously honored to join the St. John’s community at this moment in its history,” said Mullen, whose duties as president officially start June 1. “The Benedictine tradition and their devotion to higher education and community is inspiring. To have a chance to be part of this educational community during this transitional period is both exciting and humbling.”
Mullen plans to be on the Collegeville campus in early May to work with current interim president Eugene McAllister, College of St. Benedict interim president Laurie Hamen and the campus community during the transition period. His tenure as transitional president is intended to extend through June 30, 2022.
Mullen most recently served as president of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2019 and president-in-residence at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2019. He is the past chair of the board of the American Council on Education and current chair of the board of Project Pericles.
“He mentors other leaders in higher education,” McKeown said. “He’s a good match for St. John’s and for this unique moment in time.”
Mullen also has served as president of the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Massachusetts, chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Asheville and vice president of Trinity College in Connecticut. “My entire life has been framed around the impact that the residential liberal arts experience can have,” he said.
At St. John’s, Mullen will work closely with Hamen to help move St. John’s University and College of St. Benedict toward strong integration with a single leadership and governance model, pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission.
“The work of building even stronger integration between St. John’s and St. Ben’s is significant for all of higher education, and I can think of no greater partner than President Hamen,” said Mullen, who earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard and his bachelor’s degree in history from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.