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Dr. Matthew Whelan is Named Next President of Caldwell University

Dr. Whelan is a native New Jerseyan, Caldwell’s first male lay president

Dr. Matthew WhelanCaldwell, N.J., Feb. 11, 2020 – The Board of Trustees of Caldwell University has chosen Dr. Matthew Whelan as the next president of the Catholic Dominican university.

A native of New Jersey, Whelan will become the ninth president of Caldwell and the first male lay president in the history of the institution, effective on July 1.

Dr. Whelan is currently Vice President for University Enrollment Strategy and Relationship Development at Stony Brook University which serves undergraduate, graduate and professional program students from across the U.S.  and around the world. Since 2006, he has held key leadership roles at Stony Brook in undergraduate and graduate admissions, financial aid, registrar, enrollment management, student services, fundraising, facilities and strategic planning for several campuses. He previously served as the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Stony Brook.

The Seal of Caldwell UniversityLaurita Warner, chair of Caldwell University’s Board of Trustees, said that following a national search, the board is pleased to welcome Dr. Whelan. “I speak for all the trustees who are excited and invigorated by the skills, experience and passion Matt will bring to Caldwell University. We value his commitment to our Catholic Dominican tradition and are confident in his ability to innovate and further our upward trajectory of success at Caldwell.” 

“I’m delighted to be joining the team at Caldwell University. As a first generation, Pell eligible college student who attended Catholic schools, early on I developed a love for small Catholic colleges and their commitment to reaching out to deserving students, especially the underrepresented in higher education, and teaching others to serve and give back,” said Dr. Whelan.  

He has expansive experience leading administrative and faculty teams at Catholic and public higher education institutions including St. John’s University,  Hofstra University, William Paterson University and Mercyhurst College. 

Dr. Whelan has held a number of positions on national higher education boards and associations, presented nationally and internationally on issues impacting higher education, coached a women’s soccer team to a NCAA Division II Final Four appearance, and taught graduate students in higher education administration. He holds a master’s from William Paterson University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Dowling College in Shirley, New York.

Michael A. Bernstein, Ph.D., interim president at Stony Brook University, congratulated Dr. Whelan and the entire Caldwell University community. “While at Stony Brook University, Matt has provided exceptional stewardship of strategic planning, institutional research and effectiveness, enrollment management and intercampus operations.  He has been a key part of efforts that have secured historic improvements in student retention and graduation rates, the socio-economic mobility of our alumni and the enhancement of the Stony Brook student experience. All of us in the “Seawolf Family” wish Matt every success in his new leadership role.”

Born and raised in Denville, New Jersey, in a family of eight children, Dr. Whelan attended St. Mary’s school and Morris Catholic High School in Denville and Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Whelan is familiar with the Caldwell area. When he and his wife Kathy were first married they had an apartment in Caldwell while  Kathy taught fourth grade at Washington Elementary School in West Caldwell. “We are looking forward to returning to Caldwell and immersing ourselves in the life of the university, the work of the Sisters of St. Dominic and the greater Caldwell community.”

President-designee Whelan was chosen following a formal search led by partners Hyatt-Fennell.   Linda Luciano, Ed.D. MBA, vice-chair of the Caldwell Board of Trustees, led the search committee. Dr. Whelan will succeed Dr. Nancy Blattner who has served at Caldwell University since July 2009. Dr. Blattner is returning to her home state of Missouri to assume the presidency at Fontbonne University.

Dr. Whelan and his wife have three daughters and a three-year-old border collie, Lucy. 

Caldwell was founded in 1939 by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell. Archbishop Thomas Joseph Walsh became the institution’s first president, followed by Mother Joseph Dunn, O.P., who first envisioned the college. Since that time women have held the presidency.