Dominican University New York Names New President

Dr. Manuel Martínez from Mercy College of Ohio Will Become the First Lay President of Dominican University New York

Dominican University New York has named Dr. Manuel Martínez, Ph.D., as the new president of the University, effective July 15, 2024.  Martínez replaces Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., who retired as of January 1, 2024, after serving two separate terms as president, for a total of 35 years.

After Sr. Mary Eileen announced her retirement, the Dominican University Board of Trustees launched a nationwide search for a new president, with the help of the professional search firm AGB Search, and tapped Sr. Mary Hughes, O.P., Ed.D., to serve as interim president, while a permanent replacement was chosen. 

“We are grateful that talented candidates from all over the country applied for the position and were interested in guiding Dominican University into the future,” said Steven Sabatini, Chair, Dominican University New York Board of Trustees. “Dr. Martínez rose to the top of the candidates because of his impressive academic and administrative experience in higher education and his knowledge of and commitment to a Dominican education.”

Martínez will be the first layperson to lead the University in its 72-year history. Since Dominican University New York was founded in 1952 as Dominican College, there have been five presidents who were all members of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt. 

Martínez is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Dean of Faculty at Mercy College of Ohio, a Catholic College which specializes in healthcare professions. Prior to arriving at Mercy College of Ohio in 2022, he spent 18 years at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, working his way up from an Instructor of Spanish to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and finally Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has extensive experience working on programs aimed at increasing enrollment. Martínez also understands the importance of balancing the benefits of a liberal arts education with workforce development. 

“I am so honored and grateful to be chosen as the next president of Dominican University New York,” said Martínez. “When I spent time on campus recently, it was very clear to me that Dominican University is a very special, welcoming community that is centered on student outcomes. I have always believed that institutions of higher education must be student-centered to be successful.  For me, that means educating the whole person and providing both the professional, technical preparation and the soft skills that go hand in hand.” 

Martínez holds a number of advanced academic degrees including: a Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Cincinnati; a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Ohio Dominican University; a Master of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Cincinnati; and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from the University of Miami. 

“I am delighted that Dr. Martínez has accepted the position of president and I feel confident leaving Dominican University in his hands.” said Sr. Hughes.  “Dr. Martínez is a terrific fit for this special community, and I believe the University will flourish under his leadership. He has extensive academic, enrollment, and financial experience, and is a genuine, thoughtful individual, as demonstrated during his meetings on campus. Since Dominican University is a Hispanic Serving Institution, it is also wonderful that Dr. Martínez understands the culture of many of our students and can communicate with their families in their native language.”  Sr. Hughes said she will remain in her role as interim president until July 15, and expects to work with him to ensure a seamless transition.

“The entire Dominican University community is so appreciative of Sr. Hughes for providing stability to the University during this time of transition,” said Sabatini. “Sr. Hughes began as interim president in the middle of the school year, working long hours and making critical decisions. She quickly endeared herself to everyone on campus, including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and board members.  We are forever indebted to her and consider her part of the Dominican University family.”

Dominican University conducted an extensive search for a new president, widely advertising and inviting interested candidates to apply, after establishing a Presidential Search and Screening Committee and hiring AGB Search. Many candidates were interviewed by the Search and Screening Committee and three finalists spent a full day on campus, meeting with and answering questions from individuals throughout the Dominican University community who were then able to provide feedback to the Board of Trustees before the Board made its final decision.