Mark R. Nemec

President at Fairfield University

On July 1, 2017 Mark R. Nemec, PhD, became the 9th Ignatian and first lay President of Fairfield University. Working with his senior leadership team, constituents across campus, and the University’s alumni community, President Nemec has positioned Fairfield as a model of the modern, Jesuit Catholic University — committed to lifelong learning, holistic formation, and expansive partnership.

Under President Nemec’s leadership, Fairfield has renewed its commitment to the nearly 500-year-old traditions of Jesuit pedagogy, with an emphasis on excellence in all things, care for the whole student, and a broad-based liberal arts and sciences foundation. This values-based, student-centric, outcomes-focused approach is dedicated to forming men and women for and with others, in pursuit of societal stewardship and productive citizenship.

At the same time, he has led the University through a course of expansion and innovation designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and has expanded the University’s reach to learners of all ages, emphasizing: innovation in teaching methods, embracement of the potential of big data and emerging technologies, the launch of new graduate and professional programs designed to meet the needs of today’s students, and the fostering of industry and community partnerships to strengthen the University’s reputation as a leader in contemporary higher education.

President Nemec also led the largest capital campaign in University history, exceeding an original goal of $160 million to raise a total of $218 million to benefit the University. The fulfilment of a University master plan to enhance the campus living and learning environment has brought new facilities and enhanced technological infrastructure, and has included the completion in 2019 of the new Charles F. Dolan School of Business facility, with innovative, state-of-the-art features and interactive learning environments. Also, on the horizon is a new 3,500-seat Convocation Center and Arena, slated to open in 2022, which will serve as the home of the Stags Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as other athletic events, community gatherings, and learning opportunities.

The University’s success in developing men and women with an aptitude and preparedness to lead is reflected in its many high national rankings, including an assessment of Return on Investment (ROI) from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which places Fairfield University among the top one percent of the 4,500 institutions included in the study.

Additionally, Princeton Review has ranked Fairfield at No. 14 in the nation for Best Alumni Network, No. 14 among Best Schools for Internships, No. 16 for its location on Long Island Sound in the Town of Fairfield, and No. 19 for Happiest Students.

A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory in Los Angeles, President Nemec earned a BA in English from Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player. He received an MA in education and a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan. Early in his career, he taught American politics as a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College, and as an instructor at the University of Michigan.

Prior to joining Fairfield, Dr. Nemec served as the dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. As dean, he led the school’s significant growth and evolution by focusing on innovative ways to extend the university’s reach to broader student populations. Before joining the University of Chicago, Dr. Nemec served as president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, a Boston-based information services firm providing research and advice to the higher education community. He previously had been a member of the executive team of Forrester Research, a provider of similar services to the technology industry.

Dr. Nemec is the author of Ivory Towers and Nationalist Minds: Universities, Leadership, and the Development of the American State (University of Michigan Press, 2006), and a contributor to The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson (University of Virginia Press, 2012).

Beyond his research on the role of higher education in American political development, Dr. Nemec has been a frequent speaker on the current and future state of higher education and has presented to a diverse array of audiences including the White House’s Forum on College Affordability, the British Council’s Going Global, the New England Board of Higher Education’s Summit on Cost in Higher Education, and the annual meetings of numerous higher education associations.



  • President

    July, 2017 - present

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