FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Board of Trustees of Fairfield University has announced the appointment of Mark R. Nemec as the school's ninth president, effective July 1.
Nemec is currently dean of the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago.
He has worked both in academia and in business, and has a foundation in Jesuit education. Nemec was chosen after an extensive national search led by a committee consisting of university trustees, faculty, administrators, students, and members of the Fairfield Jesuit community.
“I am honored and delighted by the opportunity to lead and to serve Fairfield University at this critical moment in the evolution of higher education,” said Nemec. “I’m particularly excited to be joining a Jesuit university, having been steeped in and formed by the principles of Jesuit education as a young man. Fairfield is a university with a reputation for excellence and one that is clearly rising in stature."
Nemec will also join the politics department as professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"I look forward to working with everyone in the Fairfield community to ensure that we continue to evolve to meet the needs of students and society today in order to create a model for 21st-century higher education while remaining true to our core values so we may exceptionally educate men and women for others.”
A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory, in Los Angeles, Nemec earned a doctorate in political science, a master's in education from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's in English at Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player.
Early in his career he taught American politics as a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College and as an instructor at the University of Michigan.
Joining the University of Chicago in 2014 as dean of the Graham School, Nemec led the school’s growth and evolution by extending the university’s reach to broader student populations in innovative ways.
Under his leadership, the Graham School explored, developed, and implemented new modalities and approaches to teaching and learning and served as an instrument of innovation in areas of university-wide strategic importance, with a particular emphasis on online pedagogy and digital engagement.
Before his tenure at the University of Chicago, Nemec served as president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, a Boston-based information services firm that provides research and consulting to the higher education community. He previously had been a member of the executive team of Forrester Research, a provider of similar services to the technology industry.
"Fairfield was fortunate to have had an extremely strong slate of interested candidates during our national search. Along with the search committee, I am confident that Dr. Nemec is the ideal leader for Fairfield,” said Andrew McMahon, university trustee and chair of the university’s Presidential Search Committee. “His passion for higher education, commitment to Jesuit values and experiences in academia and business, bring a distinctive set of skills and experiences to this critical role as we begin this new chapter in our history."
Nemec will join Fairfield in the midst of the university’s 75th anniversary celebrations. He is replacing the Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, who announced last year that he would be stepping down.
“Of paramount importance to all of us at Fairfield is that while we continue to grow and evolve, we also stay true to our traditions as a Jesuit university,” said Frank J. Carroll III, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are so fortunate that we have found in Dr. Nemec, a leader in higher education who was educated himself in the Jesuit tradition, and is fully committed to ensuring that those traditions will inform all that we do in the future.”
“Mark’s appointment at Fairfield is a well-deserved reflection of his successful leadership and accomplishments at the University of Chicago and his extensive work as a political scientist, higher education expert, and business leader,” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago.
Nemec will join the Fairfield community with his wife, Suzanne, and their four children Alex, Teddy, Philip and Kit.