Memphis, TN — John Smarrelli, Jr. Ph.D., currently the special assistant to the president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY has been named the 22nd president at Christian Brothers University and has the distinct honor of being the Catholic university’s first permanent lay president. After a nationwide search, the Board of Trustees at CBU is pleased to announce this appointment. Smarrelli will assume his duties at CBU on July 1, 2009 but plans to spend considerable time in Memphis prior to this date becoming acquainted with the community and the CBU campus.
Smarrelli succeeds H. Lance Forsdick Sr. who has served since May 2008 as interim president of CBU following the death of Brother Vincent Malham, FSC. This has been Forsdick’s second term as interim president. Prior to Brother Vincent assuming the presidency, he served from July 1 to December 1, 2005.
Willis H. Willey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at CBU, wholeheartedly endorses the appointment. “Dr. Smarrelli’s credentials, experience and vision are a perfect fit for CBU. The Board of Trustees believes that John will be an excellent leader as CBU moves to realize more fully its mission in Memphis.”
Smarrelli, a native of Syracuse, NY, brings extensive experience in administration, fundraising, academic leadership, teaching and research to his role as president of CBU. Smarrelli served from May 2007 to June 2008 as interim president of Le Moyne College where he was the first alumnus and layman ever to lead the Jesuit College.
Prior to that, Smarrelli served as provost and was responsible for articulating the College’s academic vision-one that was rigorous, balanced and in which students were truly engaged. He successfully guided the College through the reaccreditation process, oversaw its planning committee and headed the senior leadership team. Smarrelli began his career at Le Moyne as academic vice president and a professor of biology in 2001.
While at Le Moyne, Smarrelli was actively involved in the College’s largest capital campaign by helping to set its priorities and meeting with benefactors and other supporters. A scientist by training, he was particularly interested in the construction of the College’s new science building and was a catalyst behind its construction. Since CBU recently celebrated the opening of its new Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences and the Assisi Hall Science Learning Center, Smarrelli’s dedication to the sciences is a natural fit for CBU.
Previously at Loyola University in Chicago, Smarrelli served as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the biology department and the chair of the advanced placement biology program. He earned a doctoral and master’s degree from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, a bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne, and has conducted postdoctoral work in biology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
An active member of the Syracuse community, Smarrelli serves on numerous local boards and is a lector and Eucharistic minister at Holy Cross Parish in DeWitt, N.Y. His family includes his wife, Eloise, and their children, Kristina, Nicholas and Elizabeth.
Smarrelli is excited about CBU’s future. “I am grateful for and humbled by this opportunity to work with the talented Board of Trustees and the CBU community to promote the Lasallian values and distinct mission so well embodied by my predecessors,” said Dr. Smarrelli. “I look forward to working with all members of the campus community to make CBU the premier Catholic university in the South, capitalizing on its outstanding academic and non-academic programs, committed faculty, staff, and administrators, and engaged student body.”
Passionate about CBU and its mission, Forsdick is confident that under Smarrelli’s leadership the University will continue to pursue the vision and strategic plan that has made it one of the top 25 Southern universities according to US News & World Report. Forsdick states, “John’s credentials, scholarship and personality make him the perfect person to take CBU to the next level.” ###