OceanFirst CEO Maher named new chair of Monmouth U. board of trustees

Christopher Maher. (File photo)

Chris Maher, the chair and CEO of OceanFirst Bank, recently was elected as the new board chair of Monmouth University, the school announced Monday.

The announcement was one of several involving the board, as Leslie Hitchner and Tasha Youngblood Brown were elected vice chairs, Stephen Gerard was elected treasurer and Dean Lin was elected secretary.

The terms began July 1.

Maher and OceanFirst have a long history with the university.

In 2016, OceanFirst Bank and Monmouth University signed a $4 million, 20-year partnership to rename the Multi-Purpose Activity Center as the OceanFirst Bank Center. Additionally, Monmouth University is one of the colleges and universities selected to participate in the OceanFirst Foundation Scholarship program, providing local students with scholarships to continue their education.

Maher was elected to Monmouth’s board of trustees in 2015 and named treasurer in 2018. He succeeds Jeana Piscatelli as chair.

Maher, who has more than 25 years of experience in financial services and banking, also is chairman of the OceanFirst Foundation, director and treasurer of Hackensack Meridian Ambulatory Care, a member of the board of trustees of Hellen Keller Services as well as the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Leslie Hitchner. (Photos courtesy Monmouth University)

Hitchner was first elected to the board of trustees in 2017. In addition to serving as chair of the Committee on Trustees and serving on the Executive Board, she was a member of the most recent Presidential Search Committee and chaired the university’s Endowment Committee. Hitchner is an advisory board member of the Urban Coast Institute and a board member of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation in Red Bank. She previously served as a trustee of the executive board of CPC Behavioral Health Care as well as the Women’s Council for Leon Hess Cancer Center at Monmouth Medical Center.

Tasha Youngblood Brown.

Youngblood Brown, who holds a Bachelor of Science in political science and an MBA from Monmouth, was elected to the board of trustees in July 2020, and named secretary in 2022. A managing director in the Government and Public Sector practice of Ernst & Young, she helps local government, higher education institutions and K-12 school districts transform their environments and optimize operations to achieve better outcomes across their communities. She also serves as the vice president of the Long Branch board of education and as board treasurer of the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, working with minority-owned, women-owned businesses and corporations as an advocate for supplier diversity.

The Monmouth University board of trustees is composed of 32 regular members who are elected to four-year terms and are divided into four class years. The board operates within the conventional framework of higher education academic governance for independent institutions. Board members are concerned with higher education issues and share a specific and genuine involvement with Monmouth University.

Newly elected board members include Karyn Cusanelli, Kanesha Jones, Rocio Serey and Bayaan Oluyadi, who is serving ex officio in his capacity as president of the Monmouth University Alumni Association.