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Veritas Award 2005

Excellence in Leadership in Higher Education
Sister Patrice Werner, O.P., Ph.D.

Sister Patrice Werner, O.P., Ph.D. assumed her duties as the seventh president of Caldwell College on July 1, 1994 and is currently serving her third term.  She brought to the position almost 40 years of experience in education, including 20 years at Caldwell College.

Sister Patrice came to Caldwell in 1973 as an Instructor of French in the Department of Foreign Languages.  During her years at Caldwell, she rose in rank to tenured full Professor and also held the positions of Director of Continuing Education, Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Academic Dean.  As a faculty member, Sister chaired the institutional Steering Committee for the 1985 Middle States Self-Study. As Director of Continuing Education, she initiated Elderhostel and External Degree programs at Caldwell. During her tenure as Dean from 1985-94, Sister Patrice oversaw the development of several new academic programs including new undergraduate majors in computer science, computer information systems, and criminal justice as well as Caldwell’s first graduate program, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction.  During this same period, Caldwell moved from an all-women’s college to a fully co-educational institution with proportionate increases in student population and size of faculty and academic support staff. Faculty development activities, long-range planning, program review and the incorporation of technology into the curriculum reached a new level of sophistication under Sister’s leadership.

During her tenure as President, Sister Patrice has overseen tremendous growth and expansion in all areas of campus life.  Significant accomplishments include substantial enrollment increases, graduate program growth, technological and facilities expansion, identity and image enhancements, and a restructured Board of Trustees.  A strategic plan Caldwell College 2005: Agenda for Excellence, supported by the development of a Campus Facilities Master Plan and a long range technology plan, have provided the impetus for two large recently completed construction projects:  a campus loop roadway with expanded parking facilities and a new student activities recreation center. A capital campaign to support these projects had also been initiated.

In 2003, the College created Caldwell College 2010: Excellence in Action, a strategic plan and vision for building on the achievements of Caldwell College 2005. The current strategic plan features nine institutional priorities which include  a.) to witness and communicate effectively our mission as a Catholic Dominican, person-centered College, b.) to optimize conditions that attract and retain the best teacher-scholars, c.) to continue to enhance curricular offerings and program quality, d.) to recruit, enroll and retain a diverse and talented student body, e.) to continue to enhance student life opportunities and encourage involvement, f.) to improve the financial flexibility of the College, g.) to strengthen current and emerging technology to improve internal efficiencies and support the teaching and learning mission, h.) to upgrade and expand campus facilities while minimizing environmental impact and i.) to strengthen the image and reputation of the College.

A native of Jersey City, Sister Patrice is the product of Dominican elementary and secondary education.  She entered the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell immediately after high school and early in her professional life taught in elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey and Alabama. Sister graduated summa cum laude from Caldwell College with a B.A. degree in 1966.  She earned her master’s degree in French with honors from McGill University in Montreal and her Ph.D. from New York University. Sister was the recipient of an AATF Summer Scholarship Grant for Travel and Study in France and pursued courses at the Universite d’Aix-en-Provence.  In 1991 she attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

In recent years, Sister Patrice has traveled extensively in Korea, France and the United States.  She has served on a number of Middle States and NASDTEC evaluation teams and is frequently called upon to speak on contemporary educational issues.

Professional associations include the New Jersey Presidents’ Council (Treasurer, Executive Board; Member, By-Laws and Nominating Committees), Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey (Chair and Vice Chair, Board of Directors), Independent College Fund of New Jersey (Member, Board of Trustees, Vice Chair, Executive Committee), Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities ( Member, Board of Directors, Member, Committee on Policy Analysis and Public Relations) American Council on Education, Council of Independent Colleges (Member, Board of Directors, Member, Public Information Committee), American Association of Higher Education, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Dominican Higher Education Council and Neylan Commission (Member of the Board, Secretary-Treasurer). In addition, she is a Member of the Board of Trustees and of the Corporation of Providence College and also a member of the Steering Committee for New Jersey’s Long-Range Plan for Higher Education, where she chairs new program process approval for New Jersey colleges and universities.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Caldwell College Cup, presented to an outstanding college employee whose approach to their job and unique contributions have benefited both the college and its students, Excellence in Education from the North Essex Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the 2002-03 Outstanding Woman in American History, The Archbishop T.E. McCarrick Award for distinguished service to the church, the Community Woman of Achievement Award, and the Woman of Achievement Award

Sister Patrice has been selected for inclusion in (among others) Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East,  Who’s Who of American Women, 2000 Outstanding Women of the 21st Century.

When not in the office or otherwise professionally engaged, Sister will probably be found on the tennis court, at a college basketball game or curled up with a good book.