Presidential Search 2023-24

On February 20, 2024, the Board of Trustees announced the election of Dr. Jeffrey A. Doggett as the 21st president of Wagner College following a national search. He will become Wagner’s president on July 1, 2024, as President Angelo Araimo retires after 30 years of service to the college.

A Presidential Search Committee, formed by the Board of Trustees, conducted an extensive national search for Wagner College’s next and 21st president. The search committee was chaired by trustee Thomas Kendris ’78. Storbeck Search, a Diversified Search Group Company, assisted Wagner with the search. Dr. Ruth Shoemaker Wood, Managing Director at Storbeck Search, led the Storbeck team.

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Search Updates

The Wagner College Board of Trustees unanimously named Dr. Jeffrey A. Doggett as president-elect today, opening a new chapter in Wagner College’s rise as a destination for practical liberal arts education. A strategic leader and seasoned steward of institutional transformation and growth, Doggett will become the College’s 21st president on July 1, 2024. 

“Throughout the search process, I have been impressed with the sense of community at Wagner College, and these close ties give me confidence that Wagner is well-positioned to excel,” Doggett said. “Higher education is facing a number of challenges, especially in the Northeast. Despite that, I am certain those few institutions that are innovative, agile and have a growth mindset will thrive and continue to make a difference in the lives of their students, faculty, staff, alumni and host community.” 

“I am honored to be invited to join this community and excited to be a part of what is happening on campus and in the broader relationship between Wagner, Staten Island and Greater New York,” Doggett continued. “I want to thank the search committee — including Chair Tom Kendris  — as well as Chair of the Board Jeff Forchelli and the full Board of Trustees for this opportunity to join and lead the Wagner community.”

Doggett will be formally introduced at the Staten Island campus on Thursday at 4 p.m. (livestream link here) as he prepares to succeed President Angelo Araimo, who is retiring after 30 years of service to the college.

“Jeff is committed to becoming a part of our community while setting ambitious goals for growth,” said Araimo, a non-voting vice chair on the Presidential Search Committee. “I know he will shape a future for Wagner where innovation and collaboration thrive.” 

Wagner College’s beautiful hilltop campus overlooks the rest of New York City. Wagner offers a practical liberal arts education, with degrees in the health sciences, business, performing arts and education, a robust Division I athletic program and a growing number of graduate-level offerings. Forging strong civic engagement and partnerships with industry, government and nonprofits across New York City, Wagner provides a unique blend of experiential learning opportunities from its residential campus on Grymes Hill. 

Doggett joins Wagner from Merrimack College, where he currently serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chancellor of Learning and Student Success. During his time at Merrimack, the college grew its undergraduate and graduate enrollment while strengthening its financial position and academic reputation. Doggett also helped reposition Merrimack in various ways: elevating its brand and ranking, improving its standing within its host communities, and moving its athletics program into Division I, where it competes against the Seahawks of Wagner College in the Northeast Conference. 

“Jeff brings a proven track record of transformative leadership and strategic vision,” said Tom Kendris, Esq. ’78, who chaired the presidential search committee. “He is poised to catalyze Wagner College’s journey forward, bolstering its mission and enriching the lives of all college community members.”

Before his tenure at Merrimack, Doggett spent more than a decade at Northeastern University, ultimately serving as Vice President of Government Relations and Community Affairs. 

In addition to leading on campus, Doggett has actively engaged in regional and national conversations about the future of higher education, including federal student loan programs, the role institutions can play in economic development, innovation in higher education, and the importance of protections for student-athletes.

Doggett earned his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and his B.S., M.P.A., and M.B.A. degrees from Northeastern.

Dear Wagner College:

I’m pleased to provide the next update on the work of the Presidential Search Committee.

I am happy to report that this opportunity has attracted a strong and diverse pool of candidates with the distinct skills to champion Wagner mission and lead our community in the years ahead. The committee and I have great optimism about Wagner’s future and our next leader.

The search committee recently completed virtual interviews with candidates from a range of backgrounds and institutions. From these, we have identified several highly qualified individuals to advance as semi-finalist. The next stage of the search entails in-depth reference checking and extended, in-person interviews with the search committee on campus. Then, the committee will identify a group of finalists, who will return to campus in early February to meet with college trustees and a wider group of Wagner community members.

We are excited to move forward to the next phase of the search. I will continue to keep you updated on our progress.

Thank you very much,

Tom Kendris ’78
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Wagner College

Dear Wagner College:

This is another in a series of updates on the work of the Presidential Search Committee. The search is progressing well and on schedule.

The committee members met earlier this month to discuss our progress and to initiate our formal review of candidates. This review forms the first of several stages in the candidate vetting process. The multi-faceted process of building a strong and diverse pool of well-qualified candidates will continue. The nominations and suggestions that we receive from those closest to the Wagner community may be among the most valuable in the process of candidate generation. 

The search prospectus can be found here. You are still welcome to reach out to our consulting team led by Dr. Ruth Shoemaker Wood of Storbeck Search at with names of any potential candidates. 

The committee will meet again in December to begin refining the candidate pool to a smaller group for further review and evaluation. I will continue to keep the community updated as the search continues. 

I wish all members of the Wagner community a warm and bright Thanksgiving!

Tom Kendris ’78
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Wagner College

Dear Wagner College:

I am writing with an update regarding our shared efforts to identify the college’s next president and a worthy successor to President Angelo Araimo.

First, I would like to thank all of you who participated in conversations with our lead consultant Dr. Ruth Shoemaker Wood and her team from Storbeck Search. Your thoughtful comments informed our creation of the search prospectus, a valuable tool that will be used to solicit nominations and recruit candidates nationally. We invite you to review the finalized copy here.

We also encourage you to share this widely among your own networks. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively or those you think might know of potential candidates. Please forward their names to our Storbeck Search team at Any information you share will be treated as strictly confidential.

Over the next several weeks, we will generate a national candidate pool through nominations, sourcing outreach at other colleges and universities, targeted advertising in The Chronicle of Higher Education and elsewhere, and the proactive, direct outreach of our search firm. Our aim is a strong and diverse pool of candidates from a range of different backgrounds and with experience gained inside and outside of higher education. Later this fall, following thoughtful discussion of the college’s need and thorough anti-bias training, the Presidential Search Committee will begin to narrow the candidate pool.

I will continue to send updates, which will also be published at Also, we welcome your continued input via our survey.

The search is off to a good start.  I will write to you again as we enter later stages of the search.

Tom Kendris ’78
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Wagner College

Dear Wagner College:

It is a great privilege to chair the search for the 21st president of Wagner College on behalf of the Board of Trustees. 

My connection to Wagner is a long and deep one. My father taught English here for over thirty years; my wife graduated in 1981 from our tremendous nursing program; and, my son earned his degree in economics in 2014 before heading off to law school. I completed my bachelor’s in political science here in 1978, before attending law school myself. For the past eight years, I have served on the college’s Board of Trustees. Finding a successor to President Araimo will be very difficult work, but it is critically important to the college’s future.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of the Presidential Search Committee who will undertake this vital work. Please join me in extending deep gratitude to these colleagues who will dedicate significant time and effort in the months ahead to helping Wagner identity and recruit an outstanding leader to guide the college forward.

Presidential Search Committee

Chair: Thomas Kendris, Esq., ’78
Vice Chair: Angelo Araimo (non-voting)

Trustee Representatives

Mary Caracappa-Hurtado ’82
Andrew F. Cortese ’72
Graham Fox
Anita Sabatino ’69
Carolina Silva ’16

Faculty Representatives

Dr. Racquel Campo DeCicco, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Katia Gonzalez, Professor & Chair of Education
Prof. Nelson Kim, Associate Professor of Film

Administrator Representatives

Jazzmine Clarke-Glover, VP, Workplace Culture & Inclusion
Jo Ann Esposito ’99, Executive Director, Student Financial Services

Student Representative

Valerie Guan ’24, VP for Finance, Student Government Association; Accounting Major

Staff to the Committee

Mark Harmon-Vaught, Chief of Staff & Secretary to the Board of Trustees 

I also thank the Wagner faculty, staff, and students who will share their perspectives during our listening sessions with our consultants from Storbeck Search this Friday (and next Wednesday via Zoom for staff and faculty) and on the presidential search survey.


Tom Kendris ’78
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Wagner College

To provide an additional opportunity for community members who may not be available on Friday to weigh in on the search, we have scheduled an additional listening session for faculty and staff to be held via Zoom on Wednesday, October 4 at 4:30pm. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Open Session for Faculty and Staff – 4:30-5:30 pm via Zoom
NOTE: Zoom link provided via email to Wagner College employees

All community members–especially those unable to attend the open sessions–are urged to share their perspectives confidentially by completing this survey. You are also welcome to recommend outstanding prospective candidates or contacts who might know such candidates in the form or by email to

Dear Wagner College:

As Board Chair Jeff Forchelli ’66 shared in his message yesterday, next Friday, September 29, the Board of Trustees will host open sessions to gather the perspectives, ideas, and recommendations of campus community members as they commence the search for Wagner’s 21st president.

These sessions will be facilitated by Thomas Kendris ’78, chair of the search committee, alongside lead search consultant Dr. Ruth Shoemaker Wood and Dr. Fiona Jaramillo from Storbeck Search, the college’s executive search partner.

Please find below the confirmed times and locations of those sessions.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Faculty Open Session – 11:00-12:00 pm in the Manzulli Boardroom, Foundation Hall

Staff Open Session –12:15-1:15 pm in the Manzulli Boardroom, Foundation Hall

Student Open Session – 3:00-4:00 pm in Main Hall 12

These sessions are in-person and will not be recorded. All community members–especially those unable to attend the open sessions–are urged to share their perspectives confidentially by completing this survey. You are also welcome to recommend outstanding prospective candidates or contacts who might know such candidates in the form or by email to

As a reminder, regular updates about the search will be shared via email and published at

Thank you very much for your engagement at this vital early moment in the search.

Wagner College:

As you read yesterday, President Angelo Araimo has announced that after 30 years of distinguished service, he will retire from Wagner next summer. The Board of Trustees joins the faculty, staff, and wider Wagner community in extending profound gratitude to President Araimo for his steadfast leadership. 

The national search for Wagner College’s 21st president will begin right away, with the goal of selecting a president to begin in fall 2024. This initial update and subsequent messages will be shared by email and published at

Presidential Search Leadership

The presidential search will be led by trustee Thomas Kendris, Esq. ’78. The son of a beloved Wagner College English professor, an alumnus himself, and the parent of an alum, Tom has served as a trustee for eight years. He recently retired as U.S. country president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Because of the great confidence the board and Wagner community place in him, I have also taken the extraordinary step of asking President Araimo to serve as non-voting vice chair of the search committee. We believe his deep understanding of our college and what we need in our next leader will be a great boon to the search.

Storbeck Search, a Diversified Search Group Company and global leader in higher education executive recruitment, has been selected to assist us with the search. Dr. Ruth Shoemaker Wood, Managing Director at Storbeck Search, will lead the consulting team. The full Presidential Search Committee, comprising trustees, faculty, administrators, and a student representative, will be announced soon.

Save the Date – Friday, September 29

It is vital at this early stage of the search to engage as many voices and views of the Wagner community as possible. To this end, on Friday, September 29, separate open meetings with faculty, staff, and students will be scheduled for community members to share their ideas and feedback. Meeting times and locations will be shared soon. 

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of the College are also encouraged to complete this confidential survey to share their perspectives. The insights gained from these conversations and surveys will inform the creation of the search profile, an important recruitment tool which will describe the College and frame the leadership agenda for our next president.

Finally, I encourage you to recommend outstanding prospective candidates or share those contacts who might know of strong potential candidates. Please add your suggestions on the survey or forward names to our Storbeck Search team at  

We will continue to update the community as the search progresses.


Jeff Forchelli ’66
Chair, Wagner College Board of Trustees