Robert Hailes Jr. believes his experiences in academia, business, and religious leadership will serve him well in his new position.

“I plan to use the gifts God has given me to make the world a better place,” he said.

Dr. Robert A. Hailes Jr. poses for a recent photo. (photo provided)

Hales became the 12th president of Roberts Wesleyan University and the fourth president of Northeastern in mid-July.

Roberts enrolls approximately 1,620 students and offers more than 90 graduate, undergraduate, and adult degree completion programs. Northeastern is a private Wesleyan school founded in Roberts in 1998.

The school has positioned itself as a leading university in character education, a discipline committed to the development of the whole person. It focuses on student growth through Christ-centered education, transformative learning, and service to others.

Hailes comes to Roberts with more than three decades of experience in strategic, operational and public management and Christian higher education.

He most recently worked at Pillar College in New Jersey, a private evangelical Christian institution, where he has held various positions since 2019, including chief operating officer, executive vice president, and most recently as president for the past two years.

Prior to his time in Christian higher education, Hales served in the U.S. Air Force as an officer before transitioning to the private sector supporting organizations with strategic management, executive training and advancement for over 25 years.

During that period, he worked with organizations such as Cytec Industries, Prudential Financial, and Merck Pharmaceutical.

Outside of academia, Hyles has furthered his calling to Christianity through community and involvement as Chief Operating Officer of Christ Church (10,000 parishioners) and Executive Pastor of Christian Life Church (3,500 parishioners), both in New Jersey.

Hailes is also the co-founder and president of Organization and People Dynamics Inc., an organizational consulting firm focused on emotional and leadership development under the auspices of the Center for Emotional Development and the Center for Emotional and Spiritual Development.

He holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Regent University in Virginia, specializing in leadership, change management, and emotional intelligence.

Hales also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Seton Hall University.

Hailes prepares to throw the first pitch in a baseball game for the Rochester Red Wings on August 23. (Image available)

Hyles — a married father of 12-year-old twins — had never been to the Rochester area before. Among his first impressions were how welcoming and friendly the people were, from those on campus to the Rochester area community in general.

He spends a large portion of his early days interacting with the community, from business and religious leaders to those working in educational institutions and government.

He explained that such communication helps him learn about the needs of each sector and how the university can help them meet those needs.

One path toward this collaboration is the $13.9 million Golisano Center for Community Engagement, which opened in January and serves as a hub for outreach, community interaction and student life resources on campus, Hailes noted.

Among his top priorities at the 157-year-old institution is an emphasis on intellectual maturity and spiritual humility.

He said character development is crucial.

“We want our students to come here to learn how to drive and drive well,” Hyles said, adding that the focus is also on serving people better and being good citizens.

This idea is in line with the school’s strategic plan, which focuses on academic excellence and career readiness, based on faith and community.

Hales also plans to expand and develop the range of products the university offers, which could include new courses or training opportunities.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

He believes in constant innovation, quoting the late writer William S. Burroughs who said: “When you stop growing, you begin to die.”

Hyles’ appointment comes on the heels of a comprehensive and comprehensive national presidential search that began in February after President Diana L. Porterfield announced to the community that she would leave the university and divinity school at the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year to become Seattle Pacific’s next president. university.

Dr. A.S. Hailes with Roberts and the former Northeastern president. Diana L. Porterfield. (photo provided)

The committee has also engaged executive search management firm, FaithSearch Partners, to support the work of the Presidential Search Committee and Board of Trustees as they seek Porterfield’s successor.

Terry Taber, president of Roberts Wesleyan University and Northeastern’s Board of Trustees who led the search committee, said the group was impressed by Hyles’ range of experiences, abilities, outcomes and commitment to Christian higher education.

“Dr. Hales is a courageous leader who will advance the missions of both Roberts Wesleyan University and Northeastern,” Taber said.

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