St. Elizabeth NJ University: President Gary Crosby motivated


Dr. Gary B. Crosby prefers to focus on the work ahead, not on the accomplishments that have elevated him to the position of President of Saint Elizabeth University in Morris Township.

But it’s hard not to notice the first black man and president of a 122-year-old Catholic institution that, until very recently, was run only by nuns. And it’s hard to ignore that Crosby accomplished all of this at the age of 42, with a 3-month-old baby at home as he supervises his first semester in the office.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the work that lies ahead,” Crosby said in the days leading up to his official inauguration on Thursday.

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Crosby comes to Saint Elizabeth from the Alabama University of Agriculture and Mechanical Engineering, where he most recently served as vice president for student affairs. Prior to that, he spent most of his nearly 20-year college career at Jackson State University, where he also became vice president of student affairs.

He also spent the 2019-2020 school year as a member of the American Council on Education at Rutgers University-Newark.

Gary B. Crosby, Ph.D., has been named the eighth president of Saint Elizabeth University effective July 1, 2021. He will be the first African-American and the first man to serve as president in 121 years of service. history of the institution.

Crosby’s interview, conducted via the Zoom conference, touched on the context he brings to Saint Elizabeth, where he took office in July. He succeeds Helen J. Streubert, appointed in 2014 as the first lay president of the Roman Catholic school, established in 1899 as the Collège de Sainte-Élisabeth.

Under Streubert, Saint Elizabeth became a student in 2016 and was raised to university status in 2020.

Crosby’s grand opening begins at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Dolan performance hall.

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A question and answer with Crosby:

Saint Elizabeth University President Gary Crosby.

Daily check-in: You took up your post in July. How are things going so far?

Crosby: Exceptional. During my nearly 20 years in student affairs, student services, enrollment, management, and before moving to this role as the head of the COVID task force at my previous institution, I did a lot of work.

DR: Your university education – a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree in political science, and a doctorate in town and country planning – suggests that you may have considered a career path other than education.

Crosby: At one point I wanted to go to law school and be an outstanding public advocate. But like many students, I just didn’t prepare for LSAT and refused to spend the money to sit there.

DR: So how did you become an educator?

Crosby: I re-enrolled in a graduate program at Jackson State, which became my first job after graduation. I’ve always had an interest in public service, so political science made sense to me. I went into teaching there to support myself and make ends meet. I had no idea that my life would take a turn towards education. I quickly realized that I loved the job so much that maybe my commitment to public service was to provide access and opportunities to students from all walks of life.

Saint Elizabeth University President Gary Crosby.

DR: How does your experience working at publicly funded universities in the South relate to running a private Roman Catholic university in the Northeast?

Crosby: The challenges I faced in a larger institution in the South are almost identical to the challenges I face here. Admittedly in the South in the public institutes, we had the means of the State to support the project, but not much.

DR: This is not the case with the private Sainte-Élisabeth.

Crosby: In a private institution, we rely a lot on fundraising and tuition fees, so being able to produce, recruit and keep breakthrough courses, which I had the opportunity to do in my old institution. , I am very excited to do the job here as well. I’m sharing this to just say that work is work, it doesn’t matter if you are public or private. small, large, work is work. And the job is very difficult because we are all supposed to recruit, enroll, graduate, heal, and provide opportunities for students after they leave.

DR: You have been appointed by a selection committee. What questions should you answer before accepting the possible job offer?

Crosby: One of the questions I asked was to make sure that my values ​​and my vision aligned with the mission of the institution, but also to understand that I have partners to do this very important work. You can’t do this in silos, so I wanted to make sure I had partners. I am very, very grateful to have a strong Board of Trustees in place which I believe are true partners with me in the mission to move this university forward.

DR: What is the mission as you see it?

Crosby: I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the mission of Saint Elisabeth, although there is a variation, has not changed for 122 years when the institution was founded by the Sisters of Charity. The mission is committed to serving and being in solidarity with the poor, and giving students from all walks of life the chance to be the best, to come out and change the trajectory of their lives and families. It resonated with me above all.

CDR: Do you also align with the university in matters of faith?

Crosby: There is a great fusion of faith. My grandmother raised me to be strong in prayer and to walk in my [Christian] Faith. I firmly believe in being of service to others. I believe that we should educate both the mind and the heart.

DR: How do you feel about being the first African American and the first man to lead Saint Elizabeth?

Saint Elizabeth University President Gary Crosby.

Crosby: I realized very early on that if I wanted to advance in higher education and do high impact work, I had to focus only on that, the job, and not be the youngest or the first. Although it certainly resonates with the students. Being one of the youngest university presidents in the country is rewarding, but as I always say, it’s not about me, it’s about our students.

DR: What is your impression of the students so far?

Crosby: When I started looking at the student profiles, I saw that a lot of the students reflected me as freshmen, first generation, unsure of what was to come. The students are absolutely wonderful. Above all, our students understand the mission of the institution and they do this work every day. I am so proud of them.

DR: You were raised by your grandmother. She must be very proud.

Crosby: She’s excited. Sadly, she’s at an age where she can’t make it to my nomination, but she’ll be watching the livestream.

DR: Your family must also be excited. How to manage a university with a 3 month old child at home?

Crosby (laughing): Endurance. I have to be very honest. I have the absolute best wife and partner on this trip. Larissia is a full-fledged professional. She is a certified accountant. She does all the hard work raising the family. I am lucky to have him on this trip.

William Westhoven is a local reporter for For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

E-mail: Twitter: @wwesthoven

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