Office of the President

Iona University President Seamus Carey, Ph.D.

A Visionary Leader

Since taking the helm as the ninth president of Iona University on July 1, 2019, Seamus Carey, Ph.D., has been a transformative force in higher education. Renowned nationally for his innovative approach, Carey has charted a course of dynamic growth and expanded opportunities for students, both academically and in service to others around the world.

Navigating Challenges, Driving Growth

Carey's leadership was immediately tested by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Despite these challenges, Iona pushed ahead on its path of innovation, and has seen a remarkable increase in new student enrollment. This fall, Iona is set to welcome its largest freshman class in nearly a decade. 

Carey’s initiatives have included expanding Iona’s footprint, introducing new academic programs and degrees, enhancing extracurricular activities, and reinforcing the University’s foundational values of faith and service.

Under Carey’s guidance, Iona has also achieved national recognition. The Princeton Review listed Iona among its “Best 389 Colleges” for 2024, and The Wall Street Journal ranked Iona as the #66 Best College in America for 2024. Additionally, Iona was named the #8 best Catholic college in the nation and #1 for student experience in New York, tying Yale as the #4 most recommended college in the Northeast by students in the 2024 WSJ ranking. 

Founded in 1940, Iona is a Catholic institution inspired by the legacy of Blessed Edmund Rice and the Congregation of Christian Brothers. On July 1, 2022, Carey successfully led the transition from Iona College to Iona University, reflecting the institution’s academic distinction and growing prestige. 

Expansion and Legacy

During his tenure, Carey’s vision has helped to both elevate and expand the Iona mission. In May 2021, Carey orchestrated the acquisition of a 28-acre campus in Bronxville, N.Y., formerly home to Concordia College. The new campus now houses the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences and the state-of-the-art Kelly Center for Health Sciences. Launched with a $20 million gift and in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian, this premier new school is helping to meet the need for skilled health care professionals while providing students with unparalleled access to clinical placements and career opportunities.

In May 2024, Carey also expanded Iona’s global footprint by launching a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. Situated on the historic 400-acre Westport House Estate, this new campus further strengthens Iona’s Irish legacy and opens pathways into immersive global study for students.

Carey’s vision is also reshaping the New Rochelle campus. Transforming a former parking lot into a vibrant green space, Carey initiated the creation of the Murphy Green in the heart of campus. Adjacent to that space, he is now revamping the dining hall and student union, which is expected to be complete by Spring 2025. Furthermore, his role in the newly established Gabelli Center for Teaching & Learning helps to further position Iona as a leader in pedagogical innovation, particularly in support of Catholic education.

Meanwhile, Carey has spearheaded the Gaels Go Further Mentoring program as one of his strategic initiatives. This highly successful program taps into Iona’s network of over 50,000 alumni to help students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Expanding Opportunities 

Outside of the classroom, Carey has also made bold moves to enhance the University's extracurricular offerings.

Notably on the athletics front, he attracted Tobin Anderson as head coach of the men’s basketball team in 2023. Anderson joined Iona after gaining national attention for his remarkable performance at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where in his first season, he led his #16-seeded team to a historic upset over #1-seeded Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. 

Under Carey’s leadership, Iona now boasts 24 Division I teams, including new programs for men’s lacrosse, women’s acrobatics and tumbling, and women’s golf coming soon. At the same time, Carey has also grown Iona’s Club Sports and Performing Arts programs, ensuring that Iona students have a diverse array of activities to choose from to stay active and engaged. 


A Bronx native and first-generation college student, Carey earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Master of Arts from Fordham University, with a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. He further honed his leadership skills at Harvard’s Management Development Program and the Executive Leadership Academy sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges.

Before joining Iona, Carey served as president of Transylvania University in Kentucky for five years, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Sacred Heart University for four years, and chairman of the philosophy department at Manhattan College, where he taught for nine years.

Carey serves on the board of The Business Council of Westchester and has published three books focusing on philosophy, parenting, and family life. They include “Growing Up with Your Children: 7 Turning Points in the Lives of Parents,” “The Faithful Parent: Discovering the Spirit of Purposeful Parenting,” and “The Whole Child: Restoring Wonder to the Art of Parenting.” 

Carey’s tenure at Iona University exemplifies a blend of strategic growth, academic innovation, and commitment to community service, establishing a legacy of excellence and expanded horizons for both students and the University alike.