Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD was selected as Saint Joseph’s 29th president in March of 2023, following a national search. Prior to assuming the presidency, Dr. McConnell served for three years as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs where she oversaw the University’s academic enterprise with a particular focus on expanding the academic portfolio to meet market need and student demand. Additionally, she was responsible for an increased and more effective focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, launching an annual, University-wide Day of Dialogue featuring lectures, workshops and events.
Most recently, she led the merger agreement with Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and the historic integration of University of the Sciences, coordinating the acquisition of dozens of academic programs in health and science along with state-of-the-art campus facilities. As interim president, she finalized another merger with the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences expected to close next January. She has also overseen the start of several campus construction projects.
A national leader in Jesuit higher education, Dr. McConnell was the dean of the College of Business, Influence, and Information Analysis and the Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University, where she was also the associate provost for academic affairs, responsible for academic support areas and programs. In her academic roles at Rockhurst, she was active in the business community and with regional organizations. Her 35-year commitment to Jesuit education has been strengthened through leadership experiences including the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Ignatian Colleagues Program and Leadership Institute, as well as the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. She now serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and the Association of Independent Colleges and University Presidents (AICUP).
Dr. McConnell is the recipient of numerous awards including the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Rockhurst University Faculty of the Year Award, the Helzberg School of Management Perfect Professor Award, and the Rockhurst University Excellence in Teaching Award.
After earning her Master of Professional Accountancy degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Accounting from Wichita State University, Dr. McConnell earned her PhD in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. She is also a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner.
A proud first-generation college graduate, Dr. McConnell has published or presented more than 100 articles, papers or workshops, and she researches and speaks on higher education issues, gender issues related to career advancement and performance reviews, and the need for ethical leadership in a time of change and uncertainty.