HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, Oct. 17, 2023—Centenary University President Dale Caldwell, Ed.D., will be inaugurated as the institution’s 15th president during a formal ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 21. The inauguration will begin at 2 pm in the Sitnik Theater, located in the David and Carol Lackland Center on the University’s Hackettstown campus. Dr. Caldwell’s daughter, Ashley Caldwell, will deliver the keynote.
Dr. Caldwell is one of the most influential voices in New Jersey higher education today. Since arriving at Centenary on July 1, he has been tapped by prominent media to help shape the conversation on critical issues affecting higher education, including the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Affirmative Action in college admissions. In his inaugural address, Dr. Caldwell is expected to announce a major initiative that will significantly enhance educational access for economically challenged students.
“This is a pivotal moment for higher education leaders across the nation,” Dr. Caldwell said. “Studies have demonstrated that adults with a college degree earn up to $1.5 million more during their lifetimes than high school graduates. At the same time, public confidence in the value of a college degree has fallen to historically low levels. It’s a serious disconnect—and it’s clear that higher education is at a crossroads requiring bold leadership. My presidency at Centenary will address these challenges head on and establish this University as a transformative national model that take students from economic challenge to intellectual brilliance.”
The first African American president in University history, Dr. Caldwell grew up in a family dedicated to racial and economic justice: His father, a Methodist minister, marched with and personally knew Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Caldwell followed his father into the ministry, serving as pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church in New Brunswick, NJ.
Dr. Caldwell’s inauguration day will reflect his deep commitment to faith and service. Prior to the afternoon ceremony, the Centenary University community will participate in service initiatives at local nonprofits, including Hackettstown Clean, Trinity Church, First Presbyterian Church, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and the Centenary University food pantry. In addition, Dr. Caldwell will lead a chapel service for inauguration attendees in the George H. Whitney Chapel, located in the University’s Edward W. Seay Administration Building. A reception will follow the inauguration in the David and Carol Lackland Center.
Dr. Caldwell brings a wealth of experience to his role at Centenary. Most recently, he chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he was also executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has also served as deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and is a longtime member and current president of the New Brunswick, NJ, Board of Education. Dr. Caldwell graduated from Princeton University and earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Seton Hall University.
ABOUT CENTENARY UNIVERSITY
Centenary University offers extraordinary learning opportunities that empower students to develop intellectually, emotionally, and interculturally—keys to career and personal success. Under the leadership of President Dale Caldwell, Ed.D., the University aspires to advance its reputation as a world class institution offering innovative programs, including the world’s first Master of Arts in Happiness Studies, to lift the future for our students and local communities.