FDU’s Capuano to step down as president at end of the year

President Christopher Capuano, who has worked at Fairleigh Dickinson University for nearly 40 years, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down from the role at the end of the year.

Provost Michael Avaltroni has been appointed interim president by the school’s board of trustees, which said it will take the “proper time to deliberate carefully about appointing a permanent successor.”

Capuano, who has served as president since 2016, cited the fact that the university was close to completing its next strategic plan and said he felt new leadership should have the opportunity to finalize the plan and then fully execute the plan from start to finish.

“While I am very excited about many of the goals and initiatives that were identified during our planning process and I know that our plan will be successful, it has become apparent to me that the next stage of our evolution and the time periods outlined in the plan require a longer commitment from leadership than I am prepared to give at this stage of my career,” he said.

“A good leader not only knows when to lead, but also when to step aside and let someone else lead, and, for me, that time has come.”

Under Capuano’s leadership, the university has undergone a comprehensive strategic planning process that led to significant developments including the restructuring of colleges and schools, the creation of more centers of excellence and the successful progress of the largest capital campaign in the school’s history. In addition, he directed the implementation of a major tuition reduction initiative and led the university through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his tenure, FDU achieved widespread recognition, including reaching No. 14 in Best Value Schools in the North region of the U.S. in U.S. News & World Report’s collegiate rankings.

Capuano said he will continue to be available to the board and the school in whatever way he is asked to serve.

Board Chair Robert Zatta thanked Capuano for his many accomplishments.

“The university is grateful to Dr. Capuano not only for the many contributions as president, but for his exceptional service to the university over the past 37 years, including 23 years as a member of the faculty, and for his unwavering commitment to its students, faculty, alumni and rich traditions,” he said.

Capuano also held various administrative positions, including university provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, vice provost for international affairs and director of the university’s School of Psychology.

“I want to thank all those who have supported me through the years, especially our incredibly talented faculty and tremendously devoted staff, and, of course, our determined and inspired students and magnificent alumni,” he said. “If I was fortunate enough to have made any contributions to the illustrious history of this great institution, it was due to your collaborative work and dedication. I am grateful for everything you have done for me and for our institution.”