Sister Francis Raftery was named sixth president of the College of Saint Elizabeth in January 1997. The former Provincial Superior of the Western Province of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and a recipient of the National Catholic Education Association's Outstanding Educator Award, Sister Francis served as chairperson of the Department of Education at the College from 1972 to 1986.
Sister Francis holds a doctorate in education from New York University and a master of arts in guidance and counseling from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. A native of Kearny, N.J., she entered the Sisters of Charity after earning her bachelor's degree in early childhood/elementary education from New Jersey City University. She taught at the elementary and secondary levels before joining the College of Saint Elizabeth.
During her tenure as a Professor of Education and Department Chairperson, she designed and implemented the College's Education major, its field experience component and its student/transfer advisement program. The College of Saint Elizabeth bestowed on her its prestigious Seton Award in 1991 and she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Seton Hall University in 2004. In June 2011, the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education honored Sister Francis with the Sister Rose Thering Award, given for her support of educational and community programs and activities that combat bias, bigotry and intolerance. In January 2013, the Morris County Chamber of Commerce honored Sister Francis with its prestigious William P. Huber Award for Outstanding Community Leadership. She was recognized for the special ways that she has built and sustained important relationships with the communities served by St. Claire’s Health System and the College of Saint Elizabeth.
She was chairman of the Board of Trustees and a member of the Corporation of St. Mary's Hospital, Passaic, N.J., a member of the Corporation and Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., and of Mount St. Andrew Villa in Paramus, N.J. She also has served on the Paterson Diocesan Board of Education, Archdiocese of Newark Task Force on Education and the New Jersey Bishops State Advisory Group for the Pastoral on Education.
Sister Francis is a past president of the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and was an active member of several prominent national and state teacher associations.
Presently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Sister Francis is a member of the Public Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the New Jersey President’s Council and the Executive Board for the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Most recently, she was named Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville, New Jersey.
Among other current memberships: