About the President

President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr.

On January 6, 1997, Saint Leo College’s newly appointed president, Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., stood before faculty and staff to describe the future he pictured for the school. "I see great potential here and I can envision Saint Leo being the great Catholic university of the southeastern United States," he said. "We have the potential to combine the resources of a university with a small college’s strengths of community and commitment to each student’s learning and development."

A Vision for Saint Leo: A Leading Catholic Teaching University

In the years since Dr. Kirk arrived at Saint Leo, his vision––for Saint Leo to become a leading Catholic teaching university––has guided the efforts of its faculty and staff.

Enrollments have doubled and graduation rates have improved significantly. Eight new buildings have been constructed, seven others purchased, and several more extensively renovated and refurbished. Today the university’s curriculum is more academically rigorous than at any time in the school’s history. Student satisfaction, graduation rates, learning outcomes, and student engagement are constantly and consistently improving, as measured by national comparative studies. During Dr. Kirk’s tenure, eight intercollegiate athletic teams have been added, all campus residential students are issued laptop computers, and new technologies are employed online and at all teaching locations to enhance the teaching and learning environment.

Dr. Kirk places a high priority on community service, so the university sponsors a community service day each semester with hundreds of students, faculty and staff volunteering their time at local charities. In addition, every athletic team engages in multiple service projects each year.

Education & Experience

Dr. Kirk received his bachelor's degree in history and his master’s degree in administration and supervision from Kean University in New Jersey. He earned his doctorate from Rutgers University. Dr. Kirk wrote his dissertation on small college survival strategies.

He began his administrative career at Kean University where he served as assistant director of the Division of College Development and director of Alumni Affairs. He also served as director of Development and Planning for Raritan Valley Community College and directed the college’s off-campus, non-credit and curriculum development programs. Dr. Kirk moved on to be executive vice president and chief financial officer of Misericordia University in northeastern Pennsylvania. In 1984 he was named president of Keuka College in upstate New York.

An avid athlete and former college football coach, he competes in triathlons and in 1995 completed a cross-country bike ride.

Honors & Memberships

Dr. Kirk has received honors and awards from Rutgers University, Kean University of New Jersey, and Keuka College.

Dr. Kirk is a member of the Advisory Council of Presidents of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges; the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council of Adult and Experiential Education; and serves as a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements governing online education. He is completing his second term of service on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II President’s Council. Dr. Kirk also serves on the Pasco County Economic Development Council Policy Board, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee, the Board of Governors of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Board of Directors of John G. Ullman and Associates, a comprehensive family wealth management corporation.

Speeches & Statements

Read Dr. Kirk's Speeches & Statements »

Leading Change: The Kirk Years

To learn more about Dr. Kirk’s 18-year tenure at Saint Leo, view this publication.