James Lentini's Biography
James Lentini, DMA, began his tenure as Molloy College's seventh president in June 2020. Dr. Lentini is a passionate and thoughtful higher education leader, with expertise in a wide range of areas, including strategic planning, academic program development, and enrollment management.
Before his appointment at Molloy College, Dr. Lentini served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Oakland University from 2013-2020. During his tenure, he provided leadership for the university's strategic plan, campus master plan, comprehensive fundraising campaign, research, and strategic enrollment management. Dr. Lentini's efforts led the university to achieve record highs for student retention and graduation rates while advancing signature academic initiatives, including the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, which graduated its first class and achieved LCME accreditation in 2015. He restructured the Office of Research, leading to increased external funding and oversaw the university's rise in the Carnegie Classification to the R2 category of Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity.
Dr. Lentini led organizational developments resulting in a new School of Music, Theatre and Dance, Office of Global Engagement, Office of Student Success, and the Graduate School. He developed the Office of Enrollment Management in 2015, overseeing the university's largest enrollment of freshman classes in 2018 and 2019. Academic developments under his oversight included twenty-two new degree programs and three research centers while fostering online programs to reach 22 fully online.
Before his appointment at Oakland University, Dr. Lentini served as dean of the College of Creative Arts at Miami University (OH) from 2007-2013. He fostered collaboration with areas such as interactive media and business while gaining national visibility for students and faculty through invited performances that included the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. and a featured performance at Carnegie Hall. Dr. Lentini was the founding dean of the School of Art, Media, and Music at The College of New Jersey from 2003-2007 and served on the faculty and administration in the Department of Music at Wayne State University from 1988-2003. At WSU, he created the Music Technology degree program and founded and designed new sound recording and electronic music studios and facilities.
In tandem with his accomplishments as a university leader, Dr. Lentini is an internationally recognized composer and classical guitarist. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences GRAMMY awards and received the Andrés Segovia International Composition Prize, the Atwater-Kent Composition Award (First Prize), the McHugh Composition Prize, a grant from "Meet the Composer." The Hanson Institute of American Music awarded him with a composer/performer grant, and he has received multiple awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He has been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, and his compositions have been performed and recorded by national and international ensembles, including the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. His suite for guitar entitled "The Four Seasons" is published by Mel Bay Publications, and a CD of his music entitled "James Lentini, Chamber Music" is available on the Naxos label's American Classics series. Gramophone Magazine has called James Lentini an "American classical music success story," while calling his composition "Scenes from Sedona"...perhaps the best piece for viola and cello since Beethoven's 'Eyeglasses' Duet." Reviewing his recording entitled "Through Time and Place" (Navona Records, 2020), Fanfare Magazine's Huntley Dent states: "It all bespeaks a unique career and a remarkable musical mind."
Dr. Lentini served as chair of the Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities, member of the Medical School Management Committee of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and on the Board of Trustees of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has extensive experience as a fundraiser, successfully leading his college at Miami University to exceed its goal as a part of a $500 million capital campaign.
A Detroit native, Dr. Lentini received a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) from the University of Southern California, a Master of Music degree from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Wayne State University. Additional training includes completion of the Management in Leadership in Education program at Harvard University. Dr. Lentini is a recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching from Wayne State University. The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State honored him with a Career Achievement Award in the Field of Music in 2013. Oakland University awarded James Lentini with the first-ever President's Medal for Excellence in 2020 for his outstanding achievements as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
Dr. Lentini and his wife Dana have two sons, Luke and Noah, and a daughter, Evalina.