After 38 years of service to the College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) with 16 years as president, Sister Francis Raftery announced she will be completing her term and ministry as the College’s sixth president in June 2013. Prior to becoming President, Sister Francis was the former Provincial Superior of the Western Province of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, and a member of the General Council of the Sisters of Charity, a professor of education, and chairperson of the education department. During her tenure as a professor of education and department chairperson, she designed and implemented the College's education major, its field experience component, and its student/transfer advisement program.
As president, Sister Francis has been responsible for many advances during her tenure and the College has seen much growth. Additional programs have been added to include a doctoral program in educational leadership and master’s degrees in management, health care management, psychology and counseling, nursing, and justice and public service. Two totally online graduate programs were implemented. Sister Francis established the CSE offices of International & Multicultural Affairs, Disability Services, and Mission and Values. In 2012, the College established the De Paul Center for Mission and Ministry in the spirit of St. Vincent De Paul and through the lens of Catholic social teaching. The De Paul Center sponsors programs and initiatives that foster both personal faith life and individual and communal engagement with contemporary issues through the CSE offices of Campus Ministry, The Geraldine Riordan Center for Volunteerism and Service Learning, and The Center for Ministry and Spirituality.
The first major academic reorganization in more than 35 years took place when CSE academic departments were reorganized in 2010 to 2012 around four areas with an appointment of four area chairpersons. A new CSE General Education Program began in 2012 with complete revamping of all undergraduate majors.
During her term, the College has seen many physical changes completing more than $54M in projects on the campus including the Annunciation Center. To build this new fine arts building on campus, Sister Francis secured the first $1M gift for the College in the $25M Capital Campaign - "Building on the Power of Dreams.” Sister Francis has overseen many building renovation projects such as Santa Rita Hall, state-of-the-art chemistry and biology labs, the Rose Dining Room, the Greenhouse, the construction of a new sports complex for tennis and softball, and most recently the construction of a soccer and lacrosse field. During her tenure, a campus facilities master plan was also developed, including the completion of a campus networking and campus-wide wireless network project and the introduction of smart classrooms into the College buildings.
Sister Francis Concludes a Career Focused on Service to the College and to the Community
The College of Saint Elizabeth bestowed on Sister Francis its prestigious Seton Award in 1991, and she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Seton Hall University in 2004. In June 2011, the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education honored Sister Francis with the Sister Rose Thering Award, given for her support of educational and community programs and activities that combat bias, bigotry and intolerance.
Sister Francis has been active in the community and region, as well as on the national level. She was chairman of the board of trustees and a member of the corporation of St. Mary's Hospital, Passaic, N.J., a member of the corporation and board of trustees of St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., and of Mount St. Andrew Villa in Paramus, N.J. She also has served on the Paterson Diocesan board of education, Archdiocese of Newark Task Force on Education and the New Jersey Bishops State Advisory Group for the Pastoral on Education. Sister Francis is a past president of the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and was an active member of several prominent national and state teacher associations. Presently, she serves on the board of directors for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Sister Francis is a member of the public policy committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the New Jersey President’s Council and the executive board for the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Most recently, she was named secretary of the board of trustees at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, N.J.
“We appreciate all the wonderful, creative work done and the advances made during Sister Francis’ tenure. She will be sorely missed,” said Sister Rosemary Moynihan, chair of the College Board of Trustees, who will coordinate the College’s next presidential search.