James Dlugos became the 14th president of Saint Joseph’s College in July 2012. Since his inauguration, he has been championing a bold plan for ensuring Saint Joseph’s place as an exemplary 21st-century Catholic liberal arts college in the Mercy tradition. Under his leadership, the College is pursuing a series of ambitious initiatives that align with Saint Joseph’s strategic plan for its second hundred years, Sustaining the Promise. While continuing to respect Saint Joseph’s heritage as a faith-based, value-centered learning environment, the strategic plan sets a new direction for the College, embracing the underlying principles of sustainability and wellness.
New capital investments in support of academics and student life include construction of a lighted turf field and track complex; the addition of four new, advanced science and nursing laboratories; the opening of new campus gathering spaces; and enhancements to the College’s waterfront on Sebago Lake. The College has also launched a new Bachelor of Social Work major, expanded opportunities for study abroad, increased scholarship programs, and adopted a comprehensive climate action and sustainability plan.
A key element of the strategic plan is the development of mission-aligned businesses on campus, which are designed to expand learning opportunities, diversify revenue streams, and address emerging social and economic needs in Maine. Dr. Dlugos is advancing development activity in three areas: sustainable agriculture, hospitality, and successful aging.
In June 2017, with support from federal, state, and local partners, the College committed to the establishment of a new Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation. When completed, the Institute will provide critically needed support for Maine’s food and beverage workforce, helping to boost economic development in Maine.
Dr. Dlugos is also positioning Saint Joseph’s to play a key role in addressing Maine’s urgent nursing shortage. In January 2017, the College launched a campaign to create a new Center for Nursing Innovation. Funded through foundation and private philanthropic donations, the new center will expand Saint Joseph’s nursing programs, scholarships, and laboratory facilities.
Dr. Dlugos’ embrace of innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to ensure growth and sustainability for Saint Joseph’s earned him recognition in 2015 as one of Maine magazine’s “50 Mainers” who are shaping the future of our state.
Before joining Saint Joseph’s, Dr. Dlugos served for seven years as the vice president and dean of Academic Affairs at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. Prior to that, he served for 16 years at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, in a variety of roles, including vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty.
An active voice in higher education, Dr. Dlugos currently serves as president of the Maine Independent Colleges Association. He recently concluded a two-year term as chair of the GNAC Presidents Council, and was recently appointed to the NCAA Division III Chancellors/Presidents Advisory Group. Dr. Dlugos also serves on the Board of Directors of Maine Campus Compact, which seeks to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.
Dr. Dlugos earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Boston College, a doctorate in English from the University of Virginia, and has completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. In addition, he completed a presidential vocation and institutional mission program through the Council of Independent Colleges.
From the time the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Portland, Maine in 1873, they dreamed of applying the educational goals of Sister Catherine McAuley, who founded their order in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. After working toward this goal, the Portland Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas founded Saint Joseph’s College in 1912 on the grounds of the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse in the Deering district of Portland. It was chartered by the Maine Legislature in 1915. In 1949, the name of the College was changed, briefly, from Saint Joseph’s College to The College of Our Lady of Mercy. When the Sisters purchased the Verrill Estate and moved the College to Standish in 1956, they reinstated the original name of Saint Joseph’s. Less than fifteen years later, in 1970, Saint Joseph’s became a co-educational institution. Then, in 1976, the College became a pioneer in distance education programs.
With more than a century of history, Saint Joseph’s College remains as Maine’s Catholic, liberal arts college, situated on the 474-acre campus on the shore of Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine, where students and staff enjoy views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. The College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees for men and women of all faiths and ages through campus and online educational programming.