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Kathleen Jagger, Ph.D.

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Miscellaneous Information

Miscellaneous Information:

KATHLEEN SNELL JAGGER, PH.D., M.P.H., is the fifth female and second laywoman to hold the office of president at Newman University in its 88-year history.

Dr. Jagger came to Newman from Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. She joined the university in 2015 as vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the College. Dr. Jagger was appointed acting president in July 2018, serving in that role through May 2019, and then was dean of the College of Arts and Science from 2019-2020. Like Newman, Thomas More was founded by religious sisters to train Catholic school teachers and provide college education for women. Known as Villa Madonna College at its inception, the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, started the school in 1921. While founded by one order, soon after it was sponsored by two others: Sisters of Notre Dame and Congregation of Divine Providence and all three remain sponsors today.

From 2002-2012, Dr. Jagger served in numerous administrative and leadership roles at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, including interim vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the College. She began her career at Transylvania as professor of biology. From 1983-2002, Dr. Jagger worked at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. She taught for 19 years and served as professor of microbiology and public health. Dr. Jagger taught graduate and undergraduate students at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, in its department of microbiology and immunology from 1979-1983.

During her tenure at DePauw, Dr. Jagger spent her first sabbatical completing a Master in Public Health with an emphasis in international health at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston and a second sabbatical doing immunology research at the Medical College of Ohio and serving as a research program director for Promedica Health System in Toledo.

Among her many honors and academic accomplishments. Dr. Jagger created the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies at Thomas More and led the school’s transition from a college to a university. She received a “Teacher who Made a Difference” award from the University of Kentucky. She was an ASM Scholar in Residence with the American Society for Microbiology and a recipient of a Bingham Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching at Transylvania. Her Eli Lilly Faculty Fellowship, supported her sabbatical at Harvard School of Public Health.

Service has been a hallmark of Dr. Jagger’s career including serving on numerous boards. She is a current board member of the Tumaini Foundation for Global Health & Humanitarianism. She has formerly served on boards for Habitat for Humanity in Lexington and Putnam County, Indiana; Northern Kentucky Education Council and Tri-Ed economic development council; and United Nations Assn-USA, Bluegrass Chapter. Dr. Jagger has served in leadership roles on committees for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Jagger considers that one of her most important career roles was the international service work she did with students after earning her MPH, which began while at DePauw, through its winter service program, and continued when she moved to Transylvania. She feels privileged to have led student groups to work shoulder to shoulder to do community research and serve communities of need in the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Immokalee, Florida. As a result, many of Dr. Jagger’s former students have gone on to graduate study in public health.

Dr. Jagger was born in Chicago and was raised in the greater Chicago area. She earned her undergraduate degree in zoology from DePauw. She earned her doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Jagger earned a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from IUPUI Lilly Family School of philanthropy.

She is married to Dr. Jim Jagger, a primary care sports medicine physician, who formerly served as director of athletic medicine and team doctor for the University of Kentucky athletics. The couple have two grown sons, Matthew and Mark, two grandchildren and four grand dogs.

Community and Professional Engagement

  • American Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Council of Independent Colleges
  • Holy Spirit Parish and Newman Center
  • Lexington Habitat for Humanity
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Northern Kentucky Education Council
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Gravity Diagnostics
  • Tumaini Foundation for Global Health

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