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Dr. Saul Petersen has spent the past 10 years at the helm of Engage NJ, a higher education presidents’ coalition for civic engagement. Petersen is a proven force with fellow state leaders’ common agenda of supporting community prosperity for all its residents.  Indeed, he has spent 25 years of professional life fighting to amplify the voice of the underrepresented. 


Saul Petersen has spent his entire 25-years of professional life fighting for the underdog and seeking out the potential in all people. With a board of public and private higher education presidents and with established partnerships with the Department of State, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, state-based foundations, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, Petersen is a proven force with state leaders’ common agenda of supporting prosperous communities for all its residents.  

Over the past 12 years in particular, Petersen has demonstrated expertise as a nonprofit CEO with Campus Compact, building inclusive and innovative systems in New Jersey’s nonprofit and higher education sectors.

Having successfully designed and managed several multi-year, $2m+ grant and partner-funded programs, he has established campus-based student success pathways, 21st-century skill-building initiatives, an annual student civic engagement conference and opportunity fair, $1,000 service scholarship opportunities, and comprehensive resource centers which, taken together, are helping many thousands of New Jersey’s public and private college students of all backgrounds. 

Most recently, his work is propelled by the recognition that, to support prosperous communities, we must at the same time be stewards of a healthy planet. This has informed the business transition and strategic planning Petersen is overseeing to nonprofit, Engage NJ, which is now devoted to equipping campuses to build people’s competencies to thrive in life and work, including those that address the human causes of climate change. For Petersen, climate change is the threat to which all of this generation’s greatest struggles are now fused.

Every day, Saul’s time spent has the express purpose of ensuring every person can be included, every person matters, every person plays a crucial role in our shared democracy. All life must be treasured. This is how Saul parents, how he lives, and how he works. It’s just who he is. 

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