The Eckerd College Board of Trustees Chair Ian Johnson ’89 announced today that James J. Annarelli, Ph.D., will serve as the College’s interim president beginning Aug. 2. Annarelli, who has worked at Eckerd for 32 years, is currently the vice president for student life and dean of students.
“His long history at Eckerd, his academic credentials and experience, and his deep affection for Eckerd’s faculty, staff and students make him uniquely suited to advance the College as we search for a permanent president,” Johnson wrote in a letter to the community.
Annarelli earned his Ph.D. in religion and society from Drew University in 1984 before embarking on a 37-year career in higher education. He taught at St. Francis College, St. John’s University and the Empire State College in the State University of New York before joining Eckerd in 1990. Much of his academic work has centered around contemporary Christian issues, and in 1987 he published a book titled Academic Freedom and Catholic Higher Education. At Eckerd, Annarelli has served in a number of academic roles, including assistant director and coordinator of directed studies for the Program for Experienced Learners and the associate dean and director of the Center for Applied Liberal Arts.
Since 2008, Annarelli has been in his current position managing a staff of up to 75 people and a budget of more than $5 million annually. He administers Advocacy and Prevention Services; the Athletics Program (NCAA DII); the Behavioral Intervention Team; the Office of Campus Activities; the Center for Career Planning and Applied Learning comprised of Career Services and the Internship Program; the Center for Religious Life, including Campus Ministries and multifaith programs; the Community Standards, Title IX and Section 504 Office; Counseling and Health Services; Family and Student Relations; the Office of International Student Programs; Student Outreach and Support; Residence Life and Housing; the Office of Sustainability; and the Waterfront Program. His division also coordinates with Dining Services, the Campus Bookstore, and Health Services provider contracts.
He also served on the Strategic Planning Committee that developed Onward: Strategy in Action 2021–2026, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees to serve as the College’s guiding document over the next several years.
“I am excited by the prospect of working together with you as we advance our college, in a spirit of open dialogue and with an unwavering commitment to building a representative, just and inclusive campus,” Annarelli said in a campuswide letter Wednesday.
Annarelli is expected to appoint an interim vice president for student life and dean of students when he takes office in August.