Today, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine announced that its president of more than a decade, Dr. James Dlugos, will retire at the end of the current academic and fiscal year.
In a message to the College community, Dr. Dlugos drew upon his roots as an English professor, referencing Thoreau’s notion of having several more lives to live. “My next life will allow me to spend more time on what has emerged over the past three years as a central focus of my work to support Saint Joseph's College: growing connections across Mercy Higher Education,” Dlugos said. “This next life will allow me to stay connected with and work to support this special community to which I’ve dedicated myself for the past decade, while spending more time with my family as we grow, thrive, and explore the wider community of Maine.”
Serving as the 14th president of Saint Joseph’s College, Dr. Dlugos has steered the institution through rapid shifts in higher education over the past decade, from demographic and economic changes affecting college-bound students, to new learning innovations, to the past few tumultuous years managing a global pandemic - challenges that have tested leaders at many small colleges across the country. Despite these impacts, Saint Joseph’s College began the 2022-23 academic year welcoming a new class that is over 30% larger than the previous year.
Throughout his tenure, Dr. Dlugos has championed a bold plan for ensuring Saint Joseph’s place as an exemplary 21st-century Catholic learning community in the Mercy tradition. Under his leadership, the College has pursued 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, this “living strategic plan” has set a new direction for the College, embracing the underlying principles of sustainability and wellness.
New capital investments in support of academics and student life under Dr. Dlugos included 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.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank Jim for his outstanding service to Saint Joe’s,” said Board Chair Jeff Moody. “I want to recognize in particular that Jim has built an especially strong leadership team and faculty. This team gives us great confidence that we will continue to build on current successes: first-year enrollment growth; the addition of new Sustainable Hospitality and Community Health programs ready to launch in 2022/23; an athletic department with multiple conference titles to defend, and the state-of-the-art Arnold Center for Nursing Innovation, on track to open late this academic year. It is this strong team and the momentum they have created that also give us confidence we will attract another strong, visionary leader to move us further forward.”