Madonna University Welcomes New President

Christopher Dougherty joins Madonna University as the new president.
Madonna's New President Christopher Dougherty

“I am thrilled to be joining the Madonna University community. I was drawn to the University’s Felician Franciscan tradition,” says Dr. Christopher Dougherty, the newly-appointed university president, who assumed his post on July 1. “The spirit and beauty of the campus and surrounding area complement the University’s mission and outreach to partner institutions and learners across the lifespan and around the globe.”

One of the nation’s largest Franciscan universities, Madonna University has a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of around 2,100 students, with record incoming classes for three of the past five years.

As Madonna University’s eighth president, Dougherty inherits an ambitious leadership agenda, as defined by the search committee. Tasked with providing distinguished, visionary and trusted leadership, he will also work toward building community, implementing the strategic plan, raising funds, allocating resources, increasing enrollment and enhancing the positioning of the institution. 

A committed Catholic with more than 30 years of higher education experience, Dougherty came to Madonna from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, where he served as a professor of business, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty. He has a doctorate in higher education from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish from St. Joseph’s University.

In the role of president, Dougherty promises a commitment to the ideals of liberal arts education and professional programs in the context of Madonna’s Franciscan values:

  • respect for the dignity of each person
  • peace and justice
  • reverence for creation 
  • education for truth and service

To learn more about Madonna University’s degree programs, including 100 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Nursing and Health as well as the School of Business, visit

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Serving where needed since 1874

Founded in Poland in 1855, the Felician Sisters are a congregation of women religious inspired by the spiritual ideals of their foundress, Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, and Saints Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi and Felix of Cantalice. Arriving in North America in 1874 following Blessed Mary Angela’s directive “to serve where needed,” they helped to weave the social service system. Today, the Felician Sisters founded, sponsor or support through the presence of our sisters, more than 40 ministries – all continuing to evolve to meet the needs of the people they serve.

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