Chatham University

Chatham University names Dr. David Finegold as President

Dr. David Finegood named the New President of Chatham University

Chatham University has named David L. Finegold, DPhil, as the 19th president in the institution's 147-year history. Dr. Finegold has nearly 30 years of experience in higher education as a researcher, author, professor, academic dean, senior vice president and chief academic officer.

A renowned scholar and educational innovator, Dr. Finegold has dedicated his career to education reform, the design of high-performance organizations, and extensive research on education and skill-creation systems around the world. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1985, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he received his DPhil in Politics in 1992.

“The Presidential Search Committee, which was comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumnae and trustees, unanimously recommended Dr. David Finegold for the presidency of Chatham. The Board appointed Dr. Finegold based on his extraordinary academic background, creative leadership, and an entrepreneurial spirit focused on transforming organizations and higher education for the better.”

– Jennifer Potter '66, Chair of Chatham's Board of Trustees

Dr. Finegold and his wife, Susan, will join the Chatham community on July 1, 2016 following the retirement of President Esther Barazzone, Ph.D., who is retiring after leading Chatham for 24 years.

"I'm deeply honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve as the next president of Chatham University," said Dr. Finegold. "President Barazzone has had an amazing tenure over the last quarter century, transforming Chatham from a small, struggling college, into a thriving, dynamic university spread across three locations and featuring a wide range of successful undergraduate and graduate degree programs. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and the entire Chatham community as we continue to build on Chatham's wonderful legacy and record of innovation."

Early Career

Dr. Finegold began his career as a senior research fellow in the Centre for Education and Industry at Warwick University in England. He then spent four years as a social scientist for the RAND Corporation's Institute on Education and Training, a unit dedicated to improving worldwide education policy and decision-making.

Faculty positions soon followed at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, and as a founding faculty member of the life sciences-focused Keck Graduate Institute (KGI). The 7th of the Claremont Colleges, KGI features rigorous curricula, personalized instruction, and intensive faculty/student interactions in a vibrant residential college community. While at KGI, he created the business and ethics curriculum, recruited and mentored faculty, and led collaboration with the other members of this leading consortium of liberal arts colleges.


From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Finegold was Dean of the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) where he led the faculty in the study of people, organizations, and the changing nature of work. He helped SMLR and Rutgers enhance their leading positions in the study of the benefits of building more inclusive organizations, including: increasing the diversity of the faculty, helping to create a program for developing women leaders in STEM, hosting New Jersey's Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education, and supporting the expansion of The Center for Women and Work.

As Dean, he increased the number of faculty by 25%, grew financial reserves by over 500% (despite persistent state budget cuts), and increased the endowment by more than 600%. He added successful new degree programs, fostered increased collaboration with industry leaders and other stakeholders across New Jersey, and helped design a range of successful executive education offerings in Strategic Healthcare Management and BioPharma Innovation.

“It was clear to the Search Committee that Dr. Finegold displays an incredible commitment to faculty and student success in all that he does. Equally important to Chatham (and all who served on the Search Committee), Dr. Finegold also possesses a track record and strong commitment on the issues of diversity, women and gender equity–issues of great importance to Chatham's past, present and our future.”

– Jane Burger '66, Chatham Trustee and Co-Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Recent Career

In 2011, Dr. Finegold was promoted to Senior Vice President for Lifelong Learning and Strategic Growth at Rutgers University. In this role, he led a range of key initiatives, including overseeing international programs and the Division of Continuing Studies, expanding Rutgers' partnerships with New Jersey community colleges, and growing Rutgers Online. With colleagues from the Tata Institute of Social Science, he was one of four recipients in May 2012 of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award to build higher education capacity in India.

Taking leave from Rutgers in 2013, he currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer of American Honors, an entrepreneurial organization that seeks to improve the quality and affordability of undergraduate education by building or expanding honors programs with community colleges across the United States. This innovative model is focused on reducing inequality, promoting student success, lowering student debt, and ensuring successful transfer from community college to a network of over 75 leading public and private college and university partners. At American Honors, he is responsible for building the four-year partnership network, international strategy and partnerships, research, and working with colleagues on the overall academic experience.

“Dr. Finegold is a big thinker who also has a history of making big things happen. Dr. Finegold's recent career has shown that he is ahead of the curve in addressing the issues facing higher education institutions today such as the growth of online learning, the needs of non-traditional students, the expansion of international education opportunities, and the necessity to improve degree completion rates while lowering costs.”

– Jane Murphy, Ph.D., '68, Chatham Trustee and Co-Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

Publications, Research and Personal Info

Dr. Finegold, is a prolific writer of both professional and popular publications, and has authored or co-authored seven books and monographs, including BioIndustry Ethics (2005), Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top (2001), and Are Skills the Answer? (2001). In addition to his comparative research on education and training, his work has focused on new, more sustainable economic models for creating value, such as B-Corporations, public-private partnerships, venture philanthropy and social investing. He has been a frequent keynote speaker at conferences around the world, and has provided policy advice and research on skills issues to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the governments of Australia, Canada, Singapore, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was an Atlantic Fellow and Policy Advisor to the Leitch Review, Her Majesty's Treasury, London.

Originally from New York, NY, Dr. Finegold and his wife, Susan, a native of England, are the parents of a son, Sam, a graduate of Harvard, and a daughter, Charlotte, currently a junior at Yale.

Chatham's Transformation & Future

Dr. Finegold joins Chatham at a time of incredible transformation and growth. Following the 2014 Board of Trustees' approval of undergraduate coeducation, Chatham welcomed its largest incoming undergraduate class in over two decades this academic year. High-demand graduate programs in the health sciences, writing and sustainability continue to be hallmarks of the university. Chatham once again earned strong rankings and recognition for academic quality and commitments to sustainability from U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, which recently named Chatham a Top 50 Green College. 2015 brought the academic and residential opening of Chatham's Eden Hall Campus, home of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment and the world's first carbon-neutral sustainable campus built from the ground up. NEXT: The Campaign for Chatham became the largest campaign in Chatham's history surpassing over $80 million in funds raised to-date. This year also saw in honor of Chatham's heritage as a former women's college, the launch of a newly imagined commitment to women and issues of gender equity with the $8 million dollar endowed Chatham University Women's Institute.

"Chatham was founded on the ideals of expanding educational access and opportunity within our higher education system. While we are now a fully coed university serving over 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students, these founding ideals still ring true today," said Dr. Finegold. "As President, my goal is to work with our community to continue Chatham's nearly 150-year history of educational innovation, of fostering a global perspective combined with community engagement in our students, and expanding our commitment to educational access, opportunity and inclusiveness."

“Through the combined strengths of our three very different campuses and academic areas of excellence in sustainability, health and lab sciences, the arts and humanities, and business and communications, we have a unique opportunity to create distinctive living-learning communities that provide a new model for higher education in the 21st Century.”

– David Finegold, Ph.D.