President James F. Conneely, Ph.D.
James F. Conneely, Ph.D. is the 12th president of Notre Dame of Maryland University. He is first man in the 117-year history of the institution to serve as its president
Dr. Conneely has been a visible and vocal leader nationally on student affairs issues in higher education, most recently as vice president for student affairs and associate provost for enrollment at Eastern Kentucky University. He was also on the faculty of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, teaching courses in higher education administration. Over the course of 29 years in university administration, teaching and research, Dr. Conneely has served at the University of Arkansas, Emory University, Villanova University and the University of Northern Iowa. His professional profile includes positions as associate provost, vice president for student affairs, assistant vice chancellor and departmental director.
Dr. Conneely has been honored as a champion of women’s issues on campus, and has been recognized for advancing women into leadership and non-traditional roles. He has played a lay leadership role in advancing Catholic education and supporting parish life in the communities in which he has lived, including chairing the board of Lexington Catholic High School and St. Mark’s Parish School, and serving on the St. Mark’s Parish Council, all located in the Diocese of Lexington.
Dr. Conneely’s career is distinguished by a commitment to student success, achievement and accessibility in higher education. A visionary and team oriented leader, he provides expertise in complex multi-million dollar budgeting and financial management, external relations and non-profit foundations’ development, enrollment management and retention services, teaching, research, human resources, and facilities management. Dr. Conneely has served on the self-study teams for re-accreditation at two universities and is a reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Dr. Conneely’s financial management approach has resulted in revenue generation and deficit reduction. He has refined enrollment strategies through the use of predictive modeling in the attainment of additional recruitment pools, revamped financial aid scholarship programs and helped develop new tuition models. He has had success in the advancement area including increasing annual giving for private foundations; and dollars raised and percentage giving in United Way campaigns.
He is a sought-after consultant on student affairs and higher education administration at the national and international level, including advising institutions in China, Germany and Mexico. His professional outreach includes presenting and publishing in the areas of inter-generational issues among students and faculty, administration, academic partnerships and financial/strategic planning. His three most recent publications include a chapter, “Strategic and financial management” in S. Ellis (Ed.) Strategic planning in student affairs, New Direction for Student Services; a chapter, “Virtual collaboration” in H. Blythe & C. Sweet (Eds.) It works for me: becoming a publishing scholar/researcher, The New Forums Better Teaching Series; articles for the NASPA Leadership Exchange: “Honor our Diversity Commitment: Let’s Start by Being Honest”; and Court Academic Colleagues the Student Affairs Way.”
Active in the community, Dr. Conneely serves on the boards of the Loyola/Notre Dame Library and the Knott Scholarship Fund, and is co-chair of the United Way's Project Homeless Connect. Earlier he was a member of the Region III Board of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and was the chairperson for the James E. Scott Academy for Executive Leadership and Effectiveness. He is the past president for the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) and past chairperson of the SACSA Foundation.
Dr. Conneely received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Bonaventure University, his master’s degree from Alfred University and his doctor of philosophy degree from Georgia State University. He has also earned certificates in the Management Development Program and the Institute for Educational Management from Harvard University, and the Council for the Advancement and Support for Education’s Summer Institute on Educational Fundraising at Dartmouth College. He was one of 42 cabinet-level members nationally selected to participate in the 2011/2012 Executive Leadership Academy sponsored by American Academic Leadership Institute, American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.
Among his many honors, Dr. Conneely was awarded the H. Howard Davis, Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to SACSA; The University of Arkansas Division of Student Affairs’ Distinguished Service Award and Emory University's Award of Distinction. Committed to service in the community, Dr. Conneely was chairperson of the Madison County United Way Board of Trustees, as well as chairperson of its campaign; a member of the executive committee of the United Way of the Bluegrass; and an active member of the Richmond, Ky. Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, the United Way of the Bluegrass honored Dr. Conneely with its first James Conneely Regional Leadership Award.
Dr. Conneely counts as his greatest accomplishments his marriage to Becky Conneely, who holds a Ph.D. in counselor education, and his daughters Jessica and Caitlin.