John J. Petillo, PhD


Dr. John J. Petillo was named president of Sacred Heart University in March 2011. Before that, he had served as interim president since October 2010 and dean of the University’s Jack Welch College of Business since March 2009. Under his leadership, Sacred Heart has experienced unprecedented growth both academically and physically. The classes of 2017 and 2018 were the two largest classes in school history and also the strongest academically. During his tenure, the University has added or begun construction on several new buildings. In addition, the University has added the Colleges of Education and Nursing, and new programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level have been introduced in such areas as special education, healthcare informatics, healthcare administration, physician assistant studies, speech-language pathology, orthopaedic physical therapy, nursing, clinical practice, business administration, accounting, digital marketing, finance and investment management and human resource management. The University has also greatly expanded international educational opportunities for students under Dr. Petillo.

Before coming to SHU, Dr. Petillo was president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he oversaw a series of reforms relating to transparency and accountability, including the adoption of Sarbanes-Oxley protocols for the university.

His other professional experience includes serving as president and chief executive officer of the Newark Alliance, a private-public partnership dedicated to enhancing Newark’s quality of life; regional president of First Union Insurance Services; chief executive officer of The Tribus Companies; chairman, president and chief executive officer of CareAdvantage, Inc.; and president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. He was also chancellor and chief executive officer of Seton Hall University and Immaculate Conception Seminary; chancellor for Administration for the Archdiocese of Newark; and deputy director of Catholic Community Services.

Dr. Petillo holds a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and a master’s in counseling from Seton Hall University; a professional diploma in counselor education from Fordham University; a master’s in public administration from Rutgers; a master of divinity degree in pastoral theology from the Darlington School of Theology; and a Ph.D. in counseling and personnel services from Fordham. He received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from St. Peter’s College in New Jersey, Universidad Apec in the Dominican Republic and South Korea’s Kyoung-Gi University.

Dr. Petillo’s previous board affiliations include serving as vice chairman of the St. Joseph’s Healthcare System and chairman of both the New Newark Foundation and the Essex County College Foundation.

Dr. Petillo is married to a board-certified internist. They have a daughter.