With Lentini tuning up, Molloy hits an innovative note

The music man: James Lentini is more than an accomplished academician -- Molloy College's new president-elect is also a world-class musician.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Molloy College has certainly changed its tune.

Not that its newly minted president-elect, James Lentini, won’t continue the visionary leadership of current Molloy College President Drew Bogner, who’s overseen significant growth over his 20-year tenure, including the introduction of numerous graduate-degree and doctoral programs, and is scheduled to retire in July.

In fact, Lentini – currently senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University in Michigan – was selected specifically because his three decades of higher-education experience will “help us continue on the path of unprecedented growth that we have enjoyed during the 20 years of Dr. Bogner’s presidency,” according to Dan Henry, chairman of Molloy’s Presidential Search Committee.

But in Lentini, the Rockville Centre college has chosen a leader with a decidedly different academic path and personal skillset. Bogner’s background combines biology and history, but his successor is a musician by trade – an internationally recognized composer and classical guitarist, in fact, as well as a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences GRAMMY Award selection committee.

Of course, Lentini – a Detroit native who earned a master’s degree in music from Michigan State University and a doctor of music arts degree from the University of Southern California – is no one-hit wonder.

Guided tour: Molloy College President Drew Bogner (left) shows around his successor.

In addition to his considerable musical talents, the former dean of the College of Creative Arts at Miami University of Ohio and founding dean of The College of New Jersey’s School of Art, Media and Music boasts a long résumé packed with executive achievements, including the development of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the William Beaumont School of Medicine at Oakland University.

He also led the reorganization of Oakland University’s Office of Research, helping to raise the school’s Carnegie Classification to the doctoral-university level.

Those accomplishments, atop decades of first-rate academic instruction, more than qualify Lentini to serve as Molloy College’s seventh president, according to Henry.

“Dr. Lentini’s 30-plus years of experience in higher education – in a wide variety of areas that include strategic planning, academic program development, enrollment management and more – will ensure a smooth transition in Molloy’s leadership,” the search committee chairman added.

The announcement of the new president concludes an eight-month process that profiled more than 80 potential candidates – a “comprehensive national search,” according to John McEntee, chairman of the Molloy College Board of Trustees, which unanimously approved Lentini’s appointment in November.

“Dr. Lentini is a passionate and thoughtful leader with a proven track record of success in academic program development,” McEntee said in a statement. “His experience in inspiring, leading and sustaining transformational change will allow Molloy to build on the distinguished service and visionary leadership of Dr. Drew Bogner.”

Lentini, who also completed Harvard University’s Management and Leadership in Education program and spent 15 years in the Department of Music faculty at Michigan’s Wayne State University, is scheduled to assume his new duties when Bogner steps down in July.

This week, the president-elect said he was “thrilled and honored” to succeed Molloy’s outgoing leader.

“Molloy has a tremendous history and culture,” Lentini added. “I look forward to working with Molloy’s dedicated faculty, staff, students and alumni to build on the success that has made the college one of the finest institutions in the region.”