The Neumann University Board of Trustees announced in March that Dr. Chris E. Domes would become the sixth president of the university. He succeeds Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, who served as president for more than 20 years, and in other capacities for 44 years.
“I am tremendously grateful to the Neumann (board) and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for placing their trust in me to succeed Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, a nationally respected leader in Catholic higher education,” Domes said. “I know I have big shoes to fill, and I am eager to build on her legacy at Neumann.”
Mirenda’s last day and Domes’ first day was July 17. Prior to being named president, Domes and his wife, Mary, made several trips to Aston Township. His impression of the university and local community speak volumes about his positive type of leadership.
“The transition process was excellent,” Domes said. “We visited often, and Mary and I had the opportunity to meet many Neumann students who are very impressive. It was apparent and heartfelt that everyone we met were dedicated to the values and mission of the university. What makes an institution great is when you have students, faculty, staff and alumni who have a clear understanding of the mission of the university, and who support and live that mission every day. I feel very good about that.”
Domes comes to Neumann as the former president of Silver Lake College in Wisconsin. Prior to that, he held leadership positions in various enrollment management and student development capacities for 17 years at Marymount University in Virginia and for a decade at St. Bonaventure University in New York. Silver Lake and St. Bonaventure are Catholic Franciscan institutions.
At Marymount, Domes rose from dean of admissions to vice president for student development and enrollment management. He expanded the use of technology in admissions and spearheaded a 40 percent growth of the freshman class in three years. At St. Bonaventure, he had similar success in improving marketing, recruitment and retention.
Domes holds a doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University and two degrees from St. Bonaventure University: a master’s in Counseling Psychology and a bachelor’s in History and Secondary Education.
“Dr. Domes has an impressive record of accomplishment that spans 31 years in higher education,” said James Delaney, chairman of the Neumann trustees. “He has led initiatives in strategic planning, fundraising, academic program expansion, enrollment management, community relations, technology access, and campus growth but most of all, he is a proponent of Catholic Franciscan education.”
Domes said he looks forward to working with the local community and business leaders, and hopes to enjoy the kind of positive, constructive relationship Mirenda enjoyed.
“I met with the Board of Commissioners in Aston Township and the meeting went very well,” Domes said. “I believe there is strength in communities that have strong institutions of higher education. I am proud that Neumann University is such a great asset to the community and county.”
Domes expressed appreciation to Mirenda several times, stating that her accomplishments at the university are extensive.
“Dr. Mirenda was an incredible president,” Domes said. “She led the university through times of tremendous growth. My goal is for Neumann to remain as a strong anchor in Delaware County and Aston Township. I hope to continue to strengthen the growth of the institution, and expand enrollment, particularly at the undergraduate level. I am also excited about our new life science facility with the expansion of the Abessinio building.”
Domes believes presidential leadership “requires reflective and thoughtful communication, followed by mission-centered decision-making and coupled with a high level of transparency. I look forward to building mutually beneficial relationships with every segment of the Neumann family.”
Currently, he and Mary are becoming acquainted with the community and learning of all that Delaware County has to offer.
“We have been to Dining Under the Stars in Media twice, which was great,” he said. “We are renting a townhouse near campus and look forward to purchasing a home in the area. This is my third Catholic Franciscan institution and it already feels like home.”
Domes will be formally inaugurated at 2 P.M. on Oct. 6 in the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development. The invocation will be presented by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput with a reception immediately following.