A Message from President Dale Caldwell…

I had the tremendous honor of being named the 15th President of Centenary University in February. Since that time, I have met with many students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and community members and have been very impressed with the universal love and respect people have for the university. It is clear that since its founding in 1867, Centenary has focused on providing students with the intellectual, emotional and physical well-being that they need to excel after graduation. My discussions over the last five months have convinced me that our education focus should be on helping our students develop the five most important tools to help them succeed in life after graduation. These are Intellectual Curiosity; Strong Analytical Skills; Emotional Resilience; Intercultural Competence; and, a Commitment to Community Service. Since its founding, the university has been helping students develop in these five areas. However, during my tenure as President, I hope that we can be more intentional and innovative in customizing our education so students excel in these areas and live their best life after graduation.

It is hard to express in words how excited I am to have been chosen as the President of Centenary University. It will be an honor to work in partnership with the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members to advance the university’s vision and mission in new and innovative ways. My terminal degree, leadership accomplishments and higher education experience have prepared me to lead Centenary at this critical point in its history.

As the Executive Director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, I helped to make the Institute the most influential higher education entrepreneurial organization in New Jersey, serving family businesses, veteran entrepreneurs and urban enterprises. This work led to the great honor of being named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Higher Education and one of the 50 Most Influential People of Color in both the NJBiz and ROI-NJ magazines.

As President of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ), where I was re-elected every year for 22 years, I played a leadership role in developing the organization’s strategic vision and recommending operational initiatives resulting in a 400% increase in revenue from tuition, special programs and contributions totaling $164M.

I’ve been recognized by the President of FDU for my leadership and commitment to diversity, where my leadership role as Chair for the FDU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council helped secure a $1.5M grant from the State for training and sensitivity analysis. I anticipate using my business experience, contacts and insights to engage government, business, philanthropic, academic and other leaders to secure critical partnerships and financial support for Centenary University.

Academic institutions across the country are facing enrollment challenges fueled by labor shortages and other economic and demographic changes. The shrinking pool of eligible college-age students in the United States will force institutions of higher education to provide better offers and dynamic new programs while recruiting international students and exploring alternative revenue sources. I am very excited to work with the Centenary family and friends to tackle current higher education financial challenges and achieve record levels of success by leveraging our unique offerings and partnerships. Please join me in making Centenary one of the leading universities providing an innovative well-rounded education for our students.

On July 1, 2023, Dr. Caldwell became the 15th President of Centenary University. Here are some quick facts about our President.

  • He has been selected as one of the Most Influential People in Higher Education in New Jersey for the last five years in a row.
  • He was a former Centenary University Board Member who resigned so he could apply for the position of President.
  • He is the Pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey.
  • He has been President of three New Jersey Public School Boards for a combined total of 35 years and, in 2009, was named the New Jersey School Board Member of the Year.
  • He has been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP); Certified Management Consultant (CMC); Certified Tennis Instructor; and, Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • In 2021, he was named the New Jersey Volunteer of the Year by AARP.
  • He has been ranked nationally in tennis and, in 2021, was inducted into the United States Tennis Association Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame.
  • As President of Crossroads Theatre, he was on stage to accept the 1999 Tony Award® for Best Regional Theatre in the Country.
  • He has written eight books.
  • His Father was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement who knew and marched arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Skip to content