Sister Jane Gerety, 2009-2019
Sister Jane Gerety served as senior vice president and corporate compliance officer for Saint Joseph’s Health System before coming to Salve Regina. Under her presidency, the University launched a doctoral program in nursing and an MFA program in creative writing, expanded its programs and experiential learning opportunities in business, and engaged in groundbreaking research in the sciences. She oversaw the $26 million renovation of O’Hare Academic Building and led a major campaign to reach 100 gifted, endowed funds valued at more than $15 million. During her tenure, Salve Regina’s annual Governor’s Ball nearly doubled in support to more than $500,000 as the University’s signature event. She has served as chief mission officer for Saint Joseph’s Health System since 2020.
Sister M. Therese Antone, 1994-2009
Sister M. Therese Antone was appointed president after serving as professor of mathematics and management and executive vice president for corporate affairs and advancement at Salve Regina. She led the University through a dynamic transformation into a highly respected and vibrant Catholic university in the mercy tradition. She increased professional development for faculty, implemented a new core curriculum, promoted international programs and made volunteer service a requirement for undergraduates. During her tenure, applications for admission increased by more than 300 percent, two successful capital campaigns were completed and the endowment grew from $1.3 million to more than $40 million. Additionally, more than $90 million was invested in the expansion and improvement of campus facilities. She has served as Salve Regina’s chancellor since 2009.
Sister Lucille McKillop, 1973-1994
Sister Lucille McKillop taught in several schools before coming to Salve Regina. The longest-serving president in University history, she led Salve Regina through a critical period marked by challenges in finances, enrollment, academic offerings and direction. Under her leadership, Salve Regina was accredited as a university in 1991. Her accomplishments earned her honorary degrees from Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, Roger Williams University, Rivier University, the New England Institute of Technology, Providence College and Salve Regina. After her tenure at Salve Regina, she served as president of the Sisters of Mercy’s regional community of Chicago.
Sister Mary Christopher O’Rourke, 1968-1973
Sister Mary Christopher O’Rourke was appointed president after serving as head of the sociology department at Salve Regina. She headed several initiatives to address poverty in Newport County, including the Head Start program for children. After her tenure at Salve Regina, she worked as director of guidance in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Sister Mary Emily Shanley, 1964-1968
After serving as superior at Mount St. Rita Convent and Salve Regina Convent, Sister Mary Emily Shanley became president of Salve Regina College in 1964. She oversaw the construction of O’Hare Academic Building as well as the acquisition of Ochre Lodge, Founders Hall, St. Joseph’s Hall and Queen Hall. Under her direction, the college also established a counseling center, career placement office, health services clinic and office of cultural affairs. After her tenure at Salve Regina, she became superior of St. Mary Convent, Bay View, and also served in other administrative roles.
Mother Mary Hilda Miley, 1948-1964
Mother Mary Hilda Miley was involved in securing the charter for Salve Regina and gave the college its name, after a prayer she recited daily. She was elected to the first board of directors and became president after Mother Mary Matthew Doyle stepped down. She oversaw the expansion of the nursing program, began holding an annual Ring Ceremony and Sapphire Ball, and gave scholarships to international students as a way of global outreach. The college also acquired new facilities, increased library holdings, hired more faculty and gained the ever-important accreditation from the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1961. Her accomplishments earned her honorary degrees from Rhode Island College, Providence College and the University of Rhode Island.
Mother Mary Matthew Doyle, 1947-1948
The first president of Salve Regina College, Mother Mary Matthew Doyle was also the mother provincial for the Sisters of Mercy in Providence. She was one of Salve Regina’s first incorporators, was elected first vice president and first vice chairman of the members of the corporation and was named to the board of directors of Salve Regina College. When the college opened in 1947, she served as its first president. With vice president Sister Mary Hilda Miley, they formed the college’s first advisory board in 1948 to address concerns about financial needs. Following the school’s first year, she stepped down as president and was succeeded by Sister Mary Hilda Miley.