Caldwell named 15th president of Centenary

Experienced leader in business, government, entrepreneurship and higher education is 1st Black leader in school’s history

Dale Caldwell, highly regarded in the state’s business and government circles, the entrepreneurial community and among leaders of higher education, has been named the next president of Centenary University, the school announced Sunday afternoon.

Caldwell will begin his tenure at Centenary on July 1. He will be the first Black president of the university.

Caldwell is currently executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as president of the board of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey. His impressive resume sets him apart: Caldwell was the founding executive director of the Newark Alliance, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting.

Tennis, anyone?

The diversity of Dale Caldwell’s talents goes well beyond the classroom and the boardroom.

In 2021, Caldwell was inducted into the United States Tennis Association’s Eastern Hall of Fame for his many accomplishments as a player (at Princeton University), as an official (he was the first Black person to hold the position of USTA Eastern Section President) and a historian (founder of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame).

Caldwell will succeed current Centenary University President Bruce Murphy, who last fall announced his retirement, effective June 30.

Caldwell said he was honored to be entrusted with the position.

“I am grateful for the board’s confidence in my ability to lead Centenary at this pivotal time in the university’s history,” he said. “I look forward to strengthening partnerships between the university and business leaders to grow Centenary’s reputation for scholarship, entrepreneurship and service.”

Centenary University Board Chair Rochelle Makela-Goodman said the depth of Caldwell’s experience — as well as his commitment to fostering innovation and diversity — were key factors in the board’s decision.

“This was an extremely competitive process that began with more than 100 applicants,” she said. “Dr. Caldwell’s impressive experience leading programs that promote educational access, innovation, revenue generation, equity and entrepreneurship, and his success in forging partnerships with New Jersey businesses to advance education, align strongly with our mission and the experience sought by students in our region.

“The board looks forward to supporting Dr. Caldwell’s comprehensive strategy to build on the great work of Dr. Murphy.”

About Centenary

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation.

This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The university’s main campus is located in Hackettstown. It has an equestrian facility in Washington Township.

As executive director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the past four years, Caldwell has led the transformation of the organization to become one of the state’s most influential entrepreneurial institute serving family businesses, veteran entrepreneurs and urban enterprises.

Throughout his career, Caldwell has been appointed to a number of leadership roles that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging. At Fairleigh Dickinson, he is the chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Council, leading the university’s diversity initiatives and playing a key role in securing a $1.5 million state grant to provide diversity training and sensitivity analysis of instruction and courses.

A resident of New Brunswick, Caldwell is president of the city’s board of education, serving as both an appointed and elected member of the board since 1998. In 2009, he was named the New Jersey School Board Member of the Year by the New Jersey School Boards Association. He is also a licensed local pastor with the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Caldwell earned a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University (economics), an MBA (finance) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctor of Education Administration from Seton Hall University.