Dr. Dale G. Caldwell, president of the New Brunswick Board of Education as well as board president of the Piscataway-based Educational Services Commission of New Jersey, the state’s largest specialized school district, has been named the fifteenth president of Centenary University in Hackettstown, New Jersey.
His appointment was unanimously approved by the board of trustees at the university, which was founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church. He will start his tenure July 1, becoming the university’s first black president, according to a news release from the university.
In addition to his board service at New Brunswick and the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey, which includes seven schools for students with autism, multiple disabilities and at-risk behaviors, Caldwell is also executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“I am grateful for the board’s confidence in my ability to lead Centenary at this pivotal time in the university’s history,” Caldwell said. Citing the University’s strong commitment to the success of its students and the Skylands region, he continued, “I look forward to strengthening partnerships between the university and business leaders to grow Centenary’s reputation for scholarship, entrepreneurship and service.”
Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director and CEO of the NJSBA, said, “Dr. Caldwell’s stellar career has always focused on student achievement. He is so widely respected by his peers that our Association named him its 2009-2010 School Board Member of the Year. His commitment to children and young adults has never wavered. As a former adjunct professor at Centenary University, I am so pleased that he’ll be at its helm, where he’ll get the chance to build on his excellent work.”
Irene LeFebvre, president of the NJSBA, added, “Dr. Caldwell is an authentic leader with a deep commitment to making sure all children and young adults have the chance to succeed. Centenary University has chosen wisely in picking him to lead its institution into the future.”
As board president of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey, Caldwell has steered the development of a strategic vision and the recommendation of operational initiatives that have resulted in a $132 million revenue increase during his 21-year tenure.
His experience includes being the founding executive director of the Newark Alliance, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting. He will succeed Dr. Bruce Murphy as president of the university. Last fall, Murphy announced he’d be retiring effective June 30.
In making the announcement, Centenary University Board Chair Rochelle Makela-Goodman cited Caldwell’s extensive leadership in higher education, business and government and his commitment to fostering innovation and diversity as key drivers of the board’s decision. “This was an extremely competitive process that began with more than 100 applicants,” Makela-Goodman said. “Dr. Caldwell’s impressive experience leading programs that promote educational access, innovation, revenue generation, equity, and entrepreneurship, and his success in forging partnerships with New Jersey businesses to advance education, align strongly with our mission and the experience sought by students in our region. The board looks forward to supporting Dr. Caldwell’s comprehensive strategy to build on the great work of Dr. Murphy.”
As executive director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the past four years, Caldwell has led the transformation of the organization to become the state’s most influential entrepreneurial institute serving family businesses, veteran entrepreneurs and urban enterprises. His success building this institute led to his recognition as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Higher Education in New Jersey by NJBIZ.
In addition, he has held senior executive positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He began his career at Deloitte Consulting, where he was promoted to senior manager, served as the founding executive director of the Newark Alliance, which is focused on the education and economic revitalization of Newark, and later became the deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which provides financial support and technical advice to municipalities, businesses and individuals.
Throughout his career, he has been appointed to a number of leadership roles that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging. At Fairleigh Dickinson University, he is the chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. He is also a recipient of the ROI Influencers People of Color and Diversity & Inclusion awards as one of the most influential people of color and experts on DEI in the state.
Caldwell is also a licensed local pastor with the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University (economics), a Master of Business Administration (finance) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctor of Education Administration from Seton Hall University.