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Meet Our President

President Jeffrey D. Senese, Ph.D

With the challenges in our world today, Saint Leo University President Jeffrey Senese is a courageous leader guided by the university's six core values. Inspired by data and research trends, he envisions a bright and unconventional future for higher education. Here you can find the latest articles and news stories featuring the 10th president of Florida's oldest Catholic university.


image of President Senese

Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese was named the tenth president of Saint Leo University on July 26, 2018. Senese has been an academic leader at the Pennsylvania State University, in the University of Maryland System and at several other private institutions after a decade as a full-time faculty member and scholar.

President Senese earned his bachelor’s degree in the administration of justice from the Pennsylvania State University. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in criminology from Indiana State University and a Ph.D. in criminal justice/research methods/statistics from Michigan State University. He also completed the Institute for Higher Education Management at Harvard University and the Academic Management Institute at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in Boulder, Colorado, as well as the Pennsylvania State University Leadership Academy. Dr. Senese has served as a reviewer for several regional higher education accreditors (NECHE and Middle States) as well as several program accreditors and state level accreditation reviews (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire).

After graduating from Michigan State University, Dr. Senese was a faculty member at Indiana University and then the University of Baltimore, a member institution of the University of Maryland System. Dr. Senese engaged in extensive funded national research work with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense on use of force, juvenile justice waivers, jail and prison management among several other topics. The extensive list of Dr. Senese’s academic achievements beyond his teaching roles include the publication of a methods book, dozens of professional article publications, book chapters, and other publications. Dr. Senese has also presented an impressive list of professional papers, interviews to various media outlets, and has served as a speaker for many educational and community conferences and events.

Senese has served as a department chair and then associate dean at the University of Baltimore. He then was appointed the chief academic officer of one of the Penn State campuses and, following that appointment, was selected as the academic vice president for Academic Affairs at Mount Ida College. He then served as the vice president for Academic Affairs at Philadelphia University followed by service as the vice president for Academic Affairs/vice provost of Johnson & Wales University-Providence. Previous to joining Saint Leo University Dr. Senese served as the first provost at Cardinal Stritch University and then came to Saint Leo as its first provost.

Dr. Senese also has extensive international work experiences in Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is member of the Board of Enterprise Florida, the Global Listening Centre’s Advisory Board, a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Executive Committee. He has been recognized by the State of Maryland, City of Baltimore, and Baltimore City Council for his contributions during nearly a decade of service in that community.

He and his wife, Alicia, have two children: Mia, a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and Daniel, a student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Communications from President Senese

September 12, 2021
Why Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will be Bigger than the Discovery of the New World

September 7, 2021
Five Florida University Presidents support a Pathway to Citizenship for Florida’s Dreamers


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