For the second year in a row, Monmouth’s President Patrick Leahy was listed as one of ROI-NJ’s Higher Education Influencers. This statewide recognition is in part because of Leahy’s latest appointments, including Dean of the Leon Hess Business School (LHBS), Raj Devasagayam, Ph.D., and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Pamela Scott-Johnson, Ph.D.
Leahy is largely viewed as a visionary among his contemporaries, particularly for his Five-Year Strategic Plan. The newest additions to the Monmouth community, Devasagayam and Scott-Johnson, play a notable part in the development of this initiative. In an interview conducted by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, Jack Ford, Leahy introduced his ambitions for the University, saying, “The galvanizing principle of our strategic five-year plan is to integrate academic excellence alongside affordable access.”
In speaking with The Outlook, Devasagayam was eager to note his appreciation for both the President’s character, leadership, and commitment to bettering the University community. “It is my honor to serve on our President’s team. What attracted me to Monmouth is the community on campus and their commitment to our students. In all my conversations with Pat, I have found him to be a builder of community and a passionate educator with true devotion to student success. His forward-looking vision, as witnessed in our strategic plan, is truly ambitious,” said Devasagayam.
Devasagayam also provided an in-depth analysis on the three central pillars to this strategic plan, as well as how it relates to the LHBS. “Access is the act of ensuring that all students have the means to enter into higher education,” started Devasagayam. In making Monmouth more accessible, the University will continue to emphasize academic excellence, which has a direct relationship to the quality of students Monmouth attracts. “These two elements, access and excellence, have a dynamic connection, making it an ambitious venture overall,” Devasagayam continued. “The Leon Hess Business School wants to play part in not only supporting our President, but in carrying out his vision as well.”
As for Devasagayam’s plans for the LHBS, the dean emphasized his collaboration with faculty and staff. “90 percent of students pursue a particular institution for academic reasons, and that is the foundation on which I want to challenge the faculty in creating a school-specific plan that is in line with the President’s,” stated Devasagayam. The Dean mentioned that the LHBS hopes to have an emerging, faculty-backed plan by the summer. In his remarks, Devasagayam also added that Scott-Johnson is just as forward-thinking as the President, observing that, “She is a dynamic person who properly reflects the President’s leadership.”
Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, Mary Anne Nagy, M.S.Ed., held similar sentiments to that of Devasagayam. “It has been an incredible two and a half years that President Leahy has been in office,” exclaimed Nagy. According to Nagy, it is exemplary the way in which Leahy has managed Monmouth through COVID, not to mention his perseverance in pursuing a strategic plan for the institution. “The plan not only demonstrates his vision but the resilience of the University community and campus,” she continued. “You can’t be forward-thinking if you are not being ambitious. This state-wide recognition underscore’s President Leahy’s ambition, vision, and talent; it is very well-deserved.”