Brooklyn Heights

St. Francis College names Timothy J. Houlihan interim president

College Provost Appointed After Death of President Brendan J. Dugan, ’68

January 3, 2017 From St. Francis College
Timothy J. Houlihan. Photo courtesy of SFC
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The St. Francis College board of trustees has named Timothy J. Houlihan interim president of St. Francis College. Dr. Houlihan currently serves as Provost of St. Francis. He will be replacing Brendan J. Dugan, ’68, who passed away on Dec. 18, 2016. 

“Dr. Houlihan has served St. Francis College [SFC] for almost 20 years and has proven himself to be a strong academic leader with a clear vision and a belief in the college’s mission to provide a high-quality, affordable education based on Franciscan values,” said John F. Tully, ’67, chairman of the board of trustees. “We are confident in Dr. Houlihan’s ability to keep the college moving forward and to assure the entire St. Francis community of a smooth transition as we begin our search for a new president.”

Houlihan joined SFC in 1999 as assistant dean of academic affairs and associate professor of history. He was promoted to associate dean, then vice president for academic affairs and academic dean before becoming the college’s first provost on July 1, 2011. He retained his title of vice president for academic affairs. 

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“Brendan was a beloved president and a transformational leader. He did an outstanding job over the past eight years positioning SFC for an amazing future,” said Houlihan. “We worked hand-in-hand to bring many of his new ideas to SFC and I am honored to be able to continue our work and maintain our positive momentum.”

Houlihan began his career in higher education as a speechwriter and graduate assistant in the president’s office of Binghamton University (formerly the State University of New York at Binghamton). 

He then taught in the History Department and Honors Program and served as the associate director of the Academic Advisement Center at LIU Brooklyn from 1994-1999.

In addition to his solid administrative experience, Houlihan also has taught numerous courses throughout his 22 years of academic experience at LIU Brooklyn and SFC. He developed inter-disciplinary Honors courses in American culture, while also developing and teaching courses in American history. He also developed and taught graduate courses in U.S. history and “Issues in International Labor for the United Nations Certificate Program” at LIU.  

As provost, Houlihan was responsible for developing new undergraduate and graduate academic programs, sustaining and invigorating existing programs and overseeing faculty development as teachers and as scholars in their respective fields. He also had oversight of the Office of the Registrar and Student Affairs, which includes the Career Development Center, the Wellness /Counseling Center and the Office of Student Activities.

Under Houlihan’s oversight, SFC introduced graduate programs in accounting, psychology and project management and is now accepting applications for the launch of the Low-Residency MFA Writing program. In addition, the number of undergraduates attending the college has risen by several hundred students.

Graduates of these programs and others have gone on to success in a variety of fields, including at Big 4 accounting firms, in health promotions and teaching, as well as at PhD programs in psychology, at veterinary schools and various medical programs.

Maintaining a direct connection with these students has always been important to Houlihan. In addition, graduating seniors will recall that even with an increasing number of graduates in each class, he’s made sure that during commencement every student’s name is read aloud to give them the recognition and honor they deserve for earning a degree at the college. 

Houlihan is also passionate about the Brooklyn literary scene and introduced the bi-annual $50,000 SFC Literary Prize which awards mid-career authors with one of the largest literary prizes in the U.S.

He is also chair of the Brooklyn Book Festival board of directors, the largest free literary event in New York City, which features hundreds of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, many of them at panels held at SFC.

Houlihan has both a doctorate and a master’s degree in history from SUNY at Binghamton and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

As interim president, Houlihan will continue the work of his predecessor Dugan, who was the college’s 18th president and served in that role for more than eight years. Houlihan will work closely with the faculty to sustain the quality and rigor of the college’s offerings and to implement new academic programs while strengthening enrollment and the college’s endowment. 

Houlihan believes that the Franciscan traditions of peacemaking, hospitality, humility, collegiality and service are intended to inform a way of life and our relationships with one another, and that these values will continue to be at the forefront of the curriculum and campus life.

SFC is very pleased to welcome and congratulate Houlihan as he begins his new role at this important time in its history and in higher education. 

Houlihan will serve as interim president while the board of trustees conducts a nationwide search to find a successor for president.

—Information from SFC

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