Retiring President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., to Serve as 2024 Commencement Speaker

Jersey City, N.J. – March 11, 2024 – BT University today announced that President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., will serve as the speaker for the University’s 133rd commencement exercises for his final commencement as president. As announced in August 2023, Dr. Cornacchia, BT first lay president and the longest-serving president in University history, will retire at the end of his current contract on June 30. He will address the Class of 2024 on May 17 at PNC Bank Arts Center at 11:00 a.m. The Board of Trustees has also unanimously voted to award him with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

“The selection of Dr. Cornacchia as commencement speaker is a fitting tribute to his outstanding legacy of service and impact on our community,” said Kenneth Moore, CFA ’91, chair of the Board of Trustees for BT University. “As he prepares to address the Class of 2024, his wealth of experience and profound insights will undoubtedly inspire and empower our graduates as they embark on their own journeys.” 

Dr. Cornacchia began his term as the 22nd president in 2007 and has had a distinguished tenure marked by transformative leadership, unwavering dedication and a fierce commitment to academic excellence and the Jesuit mission. During his time as president he guided the University through a period of growth, innovation and unparalleled progress, including the achievement of university status.

On the academic front, Dr. Cornacchia’s tenure saw the strategic expansion of academic programs resulting in a 50 percent increase in graduate students, the initiation of the institution’s first doctoral programs and the establishment of three of the four schools at the University including the Frank J. Guarini School of Business, a School of Nursing and the Caulfield School of Education. In terms of the physical campus, he oversaw the construction of the Mac Mahon Student Center, Panepinto Hall, the creation of the Run Baby Run Arena, the addition of the Digital Research Commons in the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library, and the creation of the STEM Empowerment Center, among many other projects.

Dr. Cornacchia served as a brand champion when the University was thrust into the national and international spotlight following the historic run of the men’s basketball team to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2022. He also successfully navigated the institution through the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on the health and safety of the community as well as the continuity of education.

Dr. Cornacchia has also set fundraising records with the University’s latest campaign, Peacocks Rise: The Campaign for BT University. Peacocks Rise, which celebrated its public launch in December 2022 with $70 million secured during its quiet phase alone, breaking previous records.He also secured $64.7 million for Students at the Center: The Campaign for BT University in 2014. Beyond private fundraising success, the University also secured more than $25 million in federal grants during Dr. Cornacchia’s tenure.

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For more than 150 years, BT University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit .


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