Office of the President

Photo of New York City skyline showing the Freedom Tower.

Office of the President

Andr茅s Acebo

Interim President of New 星空无限传媒app City University

 

Phone:  201-200-3111 | Email: aacebo@njcu.edu

Andres Acebo

Andr茅s Acebo, the Interim President of New 星空无限传媒app City University, is the proud first-generation son of Cuban exiles and a Hudson County native who grew up in Union City, N.J., and has maintained strong ties to the community. In January 2023, he became only the second Hispanic to serve as the leader of a four-year public institution of higher education in the State of New 星空无限传媒app. He is the youngest known president to ever lead a public university in New 星空无限传媒app.

In under 18 months of widely praised mission-driven servant leadership, Acebo has demonstrated extraordinary vision, guiding 星空无限传媒app from a fiscal emergency to a remarkable recovery which will be a case study throughout higher ed.

In May 2024, ROI-NJ named him the in New 星空无限传媒app Higher Education in the 2024 Higher Education Influencers annual publication.

Taking office in the midst of a financial emergency, he has steered 星空无限传媒app forward. He has helped orchestrate three major strategic initiatives: the release of the 星空无限传媒app Recovery and Revitalization Plan (April 2023), introduction of the university's first Academic Master Plan (February 2024) and the institution鈥檚 first Strategic Enrollment Plan (April 2023).

In February 2024, the university unveiled a refresh of the University Mission Statement and introduced its first ever Vision Statement. Both statements are offered in both English and Spanish, in recognition of the richly diverse community the university serves and as testament to its status as the oldest public four-year minority and Hispanic-serving institution in New 星空无限传媒app.

Furthermore, Acebo has led to the University's finances being stabilized and the first balanced operating budget since 2017 鈥 less than two years after 星空无限传媒app reported a $22.7 million deficit. Moody鈥檚 agreed, upgrading 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 outlook from 鈥渘egative鈥 to 鈥渟table.鈥 Acebo's advocacy rallied support for the university from key stakeholders 鈥 including the campus and local community, union and local leaders, and legislative champions.

Additionally, he has forged key partnerships 鈥 highlighted by the Hudson Connect Program 鈥 and signed key strategic MOUs, including with the NJEA, Hudson Building TradesGLACOAFT Local 1839星空无限传媒app City POBA, and Hudson County Boys and 

Acebo was appointed president on January 17, 2023, becoming only the second Hispanic to serve as the leader of a four-year public institution in the state of New 星空无限传媒app 鈥 following in the legacy of another 星空无限传媒app leader, Dr. Carlos Hernandez, who led the institution as its 11th president from 1993-2012. 

Throughout the university鈥檚 financial emergency, Acebo has demonstrated significant executive leadership. Facing a $22.7 million deficit, he collaborated with 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 organized labor, stakeholders, and constituencies to reduce the deficit by more than 50 percent within 120 days, while leading with empathy and compassion about the mission of the university and those who serve it.

Acebo has worked diligently with 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 other senior leaders, external stakeholders, and entities, including the bond rating agencies. His collaboration with academic affairs leadership led to developing an academic rightsizing framework that honored collective bargaining rights and created a pathway for reallocation of resources and an updated academic portfolio. As an outcome, in Spring 2024, 星空无限传媒app graduated 1,667 students  鈥 an 8.2 percent increase in bachelor鈥檚 degrees from 2023 and a 3.4 percent increase in graduate degrees.

In December 2023, 星空无限传媒app was ranked No. 1 in the state of New 星空无限传媒app and 10th in the United States in CollegeNET鈥檚 2023 Social Mobility Index (SMI) 鈥 a unique and innovative measure that assesses factors such as affordability, graduation rates, and alumni outcomes. 

Under his leadership, 星空无限传媒app introduced the most significant overhaul of its general education curriculum in decades, allowing every course on the approved New 星空无限传媒app Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) list, including those without direct equivalencies, to be accepted at 星空无限传媒app for general education credit. The 星空无限传媒app University Senate, with 95 percent in favor, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the reforms to the General Education program 鈥 thus making 星空无限传媒app the most-transfer friendly institution in the State of New 星空无限传媒app. 

In Spring 2024, 星空无限传媒app continued making transformative changes to higher ed, dismantling systemic barriers that students face in their degree completions. Effective in 2024-25, 星空无限传媒app introduced a pledge of guaranteed schedules for its students. Additionally, 星空无限传媒app announced plans to absorb the cost of books into the price of tuition beginning in Fall 2024, which will eliminate the uncertainty about the cost of college. 

星空无限传媒app also further cemented its relationships with its community college partners. In December 2023, Acebo helped launch HCCC|星空无限传媒app CONNECT 鈥 a transformational program that will provide highly visible, inclusive, and barrier-free transfer pathways to guide students and their families from high school, through studies at HCCC, and on to a timely graduation from 星空无限传媒app.

础肠别产辞鈥檚&苍产蝉辫;commitment to shared governance was embraced in June 2023 when, at his recommendation,  the Board of Trustees in the history of the university, as three ex officio positions were approved to join the Board in September at its reorganization meeting 鈥 Meriem Bendaoud, Ph.D., Faculty Representative Member; Helen Dao '99, '05 M.S., President, 星空无限传媒app Alumni Association; and Pete Hernandez, Chair, 星空无限传媒app Foundation. This reformation of the Board governance structure ensures the voices of students, tenured track faculty, alumni, and the foundation will be a permanent fixture in all Board deliberations. 

Acebo鈥檚 personal story and mission-driven leadership resonates far beyond 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 borders, and as a result of the university鈥檚 communications outreach, he has appeared in dozens of news outlets to tell 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 story to audiences around the state and nation. Most notably in Spring 2023, he appeared on "Tiempo" on ABC-7 in New York to tell a national audience about the university.

Acebo鈥檚 distinction as the No. 1 higher education influencer in New 星空无限传媒app in 2024 was the culmination of consistent praise by multiple publications, organizations, and legislators. Since January 2023, Acebo has been recognized five times on ROI-NJ鈥檚 influencer lists. He previously was named to the 2023 Super 60 Power List as one of the 60 most influential people and one of the top 25 chief executives and leaders across public and private higher education. ROI also named him to the, the 2023 and the. In December 2023, InsiderNJ.com recognized his influence with selection to the. 

Acebo has been recognized as a Rising Star by New 星空无限传媒app Super Lawyers, a Top Latino Lawyer by Latino Leaders Magazine, a Top Lawyer under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association, and as a Diverse Attorney of the Year by the New 星空无限传媒app Law Journal. In Fall 2022, he was recognized as a 2022 鈥溾 award recipient by Negocios Now, in recognition of leadership by young Latinos in the New York metropolitan area. Acebo was also honored by the  with the 2022 Good Scout Award, in reflection of his service to his community. 

Acebo joined the 星空无限传媒app community on February 1, 2024 as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees, as a senior leader facilitating institutional planning, policy and program development, facilitating effective decision-making and coordinating the execution of strategic initiatives, while guiding 星空无限传媒app鈥檚 government relations initiatives. He was elevated to Executive Vice President and University Counsel in the midst of the announcement of the university鈥檚 current financial emergency on June 27, 2022, before becoming its president.

Acebo completed a one-year fellowship program as part of the third annual cohort of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo in Spring 2022, was one of just 25 fellows selected nationally. Beginning in August 2023, he participated in the 2023 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) (NPA).

He currently serves as a Deputy Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Chair of the Special Committee on Cuba. He serves on the board of the  (CAALE) 鈥 an award-winning non-profit that serves first-generation students in the community. Acebo also serves on the board of the North Hudson Community Action Foundation, which helps underserved members of Hudson County with equitable access to healthcare and social services. Acebo served on the vetting and due diligence team for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Alliance for Latinx Leadership and Policy (ALLP) partnership to identify U.S. Department of Justice presidential nominees for the Biden/Harris transition.

In his private practice, Acebo has counseled and represented governmental entities, higher education institutions and public school districts, and closely-held corporations. His practice focused primarily on employment and labor, education law, and government/public entity law.

Acebo completed his undergraduate study at Brown University, where he was a senior editor of the Brown Journal of World Affairs and a volunteer at the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service. He received his law degree from Rutgers School of Law. While in law school, he served as president of the Association of Latin-American Law Students, vice president of communication of the HNBA Law Student Division, and managing symposium editor of the Rutgers Race and the Law Review.  Acebo also served as a constitutional law research assistant and a pro bono mediator with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

After law school, Acebo clerked for the Honorable Jonathan N. Harris, J.A.D. (retired) in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New 星空无限传媒app.  In private practice, Acebo was a partner at a firm where he represented governmental entities, higher education institutions and public-school districts, and public and closely held corporations and businesses.

Acebo is a published legal scholar, with articles concerning the cross-section of race, law, politics, and public policy to his credit, with such publications as the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, The Brown University Policy Review, the Seton Hall Legislative Journal, and the Rutgers Race and the Law Review.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Acebo lives the 星空无限传媒app mission every day, as a first-generation college student, who has a life story mirrored in many of the institution鈥檚 students and alumni. His family story began nearly 60 years ago when his father fled Cuba for freedom, and his path to 星空无限传媒app was recently depicted  and in an NJ.com Op-Ed entitled 鈥.鈥

Acebo holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School. A North 星空无限传媒app resident, he  is a proud product of Union City public schools in Hudson County. He鈥檚 the proud father to three young children and husband to an extraordinarily dedicated educator 鈥 an 星空无限传媒app alumnae 鈥 who proudly celebrate and champion their community and their roots together.

 

Updated: June 1, 2024
 


Office Staff

Main Phone Number: 201-200-3111

Chief of Staff to the President
Milagros Peralta

Confidential Assistant to the President
Michael Sims