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For St. Francis College, a new prez, a new plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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The incoming president of St. Francis College hasn’t even taken office yet — but he’s already planning to add Master’s programs and dorms at the commuter college in Brooklyn Heights.

Brendan Dugan, a regional chairman and CEO of Sovereign Bank, will take the helm this July and plans to supplement the Remsen Street college’s new graduate program in accounting with other departments offering advanced degrees.

“The Master’s in accounting is, in a way, a pilot program for things we might do for health sciences, business, and psychology and criminal justice,” said Dugan, who graduated from St. Francis in 1968 with a degree in management and economics.

Dugan also plans to create new residences for the school’s 2,159 students.

“At heart, we’ll always be a commuter school, but we [want] to expand our dorms,” he said.

Details about the proposed dormitories are still being developed, but Dugan hopes to house the students near the school.

“Ideally, we’d like to keep the students close,” Dugan said. “Downtown Brooklyn a great neighborhood for young people.”

St. Francis College, which U.S. News and World Report ranked as the sixth most-racially diverse liberal arts college in America, currently houses a limited number of students in outside dorms.

Dugan will replace Frank Macchiarola, himself a St. Francis College alumnus who led the school since 1996. Last week, St. Francis College honored Macchiarola, a former City schools chancellor, with a fancy farewell dinner at Cipriani in Manhattan.

Macchiarola presided over the school during a period of impressive growth, overseeing the construction of a seven-story academic center and an athletic facility, as well as increased minority graduation rates and a 45-percent spike in applications over the past five years.

“The good news is that my job isn’t a gut rehab kind of assignment,” Dugan said. “My job is to continue the things that Dr. Macchiarola achieved during his outstanding 12 years of service and to leverage those accomplishments to bring things to an even higher level.”

The bottom line for Dugan is, well, the bottom line. The banker-cum-academic leader told The Brooklyn Paper that he’ll do everything to keep the school’s tuition affordable, so that the Catholic college can continue to educate blue-collar students from the five boroughs. Tuition this fall will hover around $15,000 — rising about $500 from last year.

“We understand where we came from, we understand what we are,” he said. “The central mission will be always be to provide a high quality, well-priced education so kids can journey up the socioeconomic ladder. We will always have a place for those students.”

Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
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