Simon Newman was introduced as the 25th President of Mount St. Mary’s University during Mass at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Monday.
Newman, one of three candidates selected by the school’s Presidential Search Committee, originally held a conference with students on Nov. 13. His appointment is the end of a six-month process that involved a nationwide effort to find a replacement for outgoing president Dr. Thomas Powell, who will step down after the 2014-15 academic year.
“I am honored to help continue the Mount’s rich legacy and to further lead the University on its quest for greatness,” Newman said in a statement from the university. “I am inheriting a very solid foundation for future growth and development, and very much look forward to joining the Mount community.”
Newly appointed Newman offered an extensive résumé in his bid for the presidency. He has served as the CEO of Cornerstone Management Group since 2001 and as Managing Director of JP Capital Partners since 2008.
Newman has either founded or co-founded four businesses, completing over $33 billion in financial transactions over the course of his career. As a consultant, his clients included Warner Bros., Disney and Universal Studios.
“Simon brings a background in business, finance and leadership to our campus,” said John E. Coyne, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Coyne compared Newman’s professional strengths to those of Fr. John Dubois, the school’s founder.
In its prospectus for the search process, the committee listed the ability to identify new sources of revenue and the capacity to exercise fiscal leadership as two top qualifications necessary for a presidential candidate.
“I think he is an obvious choice, embodying an entrepreneurial spirit that the Mount was looking for” said committee member and SGA President Katie Price.
Newman, born in the United Kingdom, earned his B.A. degree, and later his M.A. degree in natural sciences, from Cambridge University. He later earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, CA.
Newman is also a practicing Catholic, a characteristic he shares with 75 percent of the student body, according to information provided by the Cardinal Newman Society’s profile of the university. Newman has served as a minister of communion as well as a religious education teacher within his parish.
In his address to those present at Monday’s Mass, Newman said the Virgin Mary was one of his biggest inspirations throughout the search process, next to his wife, Michelle.
“He is a devout Catholic,” Coyne said. “Simon’s energy and accomplishment, and notably his firm commitment to the Mount’s strong Catholic liberal arts tradition, will serve the University well as we enter a most competitive and critical decade in higher education.”
Price expressed an excitement on behalf of the student body to work with Newman, while emphasizing that the board’s decision was not necessarily based on the same rationale that led to the appointment of Powell in 2003.
“Each Mount president brings their own expertise in a unique way, and is undoubtedly the leader the Mount needs at that specific time,” Price explained. “Newman will have the same successes, but under new goals and a different style, taking the Mount to its next stage.”
No information has been released yet detailing Newman’s first initiatives. According to the committee, he may be visible and meet with individuals on campus during the early months of next summer.
Newman is not officially set to take office until Jul. 1, 2015.