Seton Hall University names Monsignor Joseph Reilly as its 22nd president

After an eight-month search by a committee of Seton Hall University‘s board of regents, the South Orange-based institution named Monsignor Joseph Reilly as its 22nd president. Reilly will assume the role July 1.

This appointment marks the return of a priest-president to Seton Hall, which has been a hallmark of the university for 146 years of its 168-year history.

Reilly brings a deep knowledge of Catholic higher education, impressive administrative skills and personal experience as a Seton Hall student, alumnus, faculty member, administrator and priest. He takes over for Katia Passerini, who has served as interim president since July 2023.

“There is no one better suited to leading the university at this moment — a time when Seton Hall stands at the cusp of extraordinary progress,” Hank D’Alessandro, Class of 1985, chair of the board of regents and the Presidential Search Committee. “Monsignor Reilly was the ideal choice. He possesses a deep faith in God and a demonstrable commitment to nurturing our students to greatness as we advance among the nation’s foremost Catholic universities.”

A Mountainside native, Reilly attended Seton Hall Prep and graduated from the university in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1991 and returned to his alma mater in 2002 as rector of the College Seminary at St. Andrew’s Hall.

In 2012, he was named rector/dean of the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, where he served until 2022. During this period, he helped strengthen the university’s Catholic foundation as a member of the board of trustees. After a yearlong sabbatical, he undertook his most recent post as vice provost of academics and Catholic identity.

“I am both profoundly grateful and exceedingly energized to take up the responsibilities of service as the university’s 22nd president,” Reilly said. “Seton Hall is the place where I have come to know the truth about God, about who I am before God and about what contribution to society that God is inviting me to make. Since 1856, countless others have had a similar experience. I cannot wait to engage our community as together we strive to bring new life to the timeless Catholic mission that makes Seton Hall unique among American universities.”

“In my service with Monsignor Reilly on the board of trustees, he impressed me with his abiding faith, keen intellect and genuine care for the entire university,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, chair of the board of trustees and president of the board of regents, said. “I am confident he will be an outstanding president.”

Reilly has played key roles in multiple pontificates. St. John Paul II named him a chaplain to His Holiness in 2005 and Pope Francis appointed him a Missionary of Mercy in 2015. In addition, he has served the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a member of the Faithful Citizenship Strategy Committee and the Catholic Social Teaching Task Force.