NJCU Names Dr. Adrian Franco Inaugural Executive Director of the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Studies

January 25, 2021
Dr. Adrian Franco web header

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) has named Dr. Adrian Franco as the inaugural Executive Director of The Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Studies, the University has announced. Dr. Franco will begin in his role on February 1. 

The Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Studies was officially launched on November 18, 2020 with a virtual ribbon cutting event attended by special guests and dignitaries from across the world. The institute was made possible by a $10 million gift in May 2020 — the largest in the university’s history — from long-time NJCU donor, Congressman Frank J. Guarini, including $5 million earmarked for international studies. It will enable the university to expand upon its already impressive global focus.

Reporting to the Office of the President, Dr. Franco will build the strategic framework and then align the missions of existing NJCU offices and departments to stimulate interest by international businesses and educational institutions to partner with our campus community to further innovation and drive change, build a body of research that will support the university and its students, and ultimately serve as part of an economic engine for the local economy. 

Collaborating with the talent from across our campus, Dr. Franco will look to determine how to incentivize international businesses to bring products and innovation to the NJCU campus for research and development and forge partnerships with the university. The Institute will serve as an extraordinary conduit in connecting the university’s mission to advance economic development, spur personal development and deepen and grow academic partnerships. 

NJCU President Sue Henderson said: “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Adrian Franco to our institution in this exciting new capacity. Congressman Guarini’s investment in the Guarini Institute for International Studies will be a gamechanger for our university as we continue to expand our global focus. Dr. Franco’s experience in education, development, foundation leadership and his past executive legislative roles in his native Mexico make him uniquely qualified to build our shared vision to make NJCU the statewide leader in enhancing business, culture and citizenry.” 

Most recently, Dr. Franco has been Director of Community Development Finance and an officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he supervised a portfolio of initiatives to attract capital to historically disinvested areas and build the capacity of community-based organizations to partner with financial institutions. As the New York Fed’s Director of Education, Dr. Franco oversaw the Bank’s programs for high school and college students. He revamped signature programs to increase participation of students from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, engaged business schools to address culture reform in the financial sector, and implemented an internship program with the City University of New York to foster the Bank's diversity goals. He also chaired the New York Fed's Community Advisory Group and launched the Fintech Advisory Group.

Before joining the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Dr. Franco served as executive director of Qualitas of Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization advancing financial inclusion of Latino immigrants. He also coordinated programs with K-12 teachers at Columbia University’s Institute of Latin American Studies and consulted for the New York City Department of Education and the Mexican Ministry of Public Education on policies and programs for immigrant families. 

Born in Mexico, there he held executive roles at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Film Archive, and was a member of President-Elect Vicente Fox’s transition team. 

He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and holds a Master of International Affairs (MIA) from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Designed for the 21st century, the Guarini Institute will extend beyond regional and national boundaries and focus on three key areas: research that explores the inter-connections between the global future of work and higher education; preparation of students through abroad experiences and global work opportunities for the global future of work; and creation of international partnerships with institutions of higher education, businesses, and organizations that foster and advance the global nature of work.

The Guarini Institute platform will showcase NJCU’s longstanding commitment to leverage the strengths of a diverse, international community to foster and accelerate advances in education, research, business, and innovation. These fundamentals are exemplified by the significant number of Fulbright Award winners and its ability to develop international trade forums at home and abroad through the Institute for Dispute Resolution. 

About NJCU

New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning with an audacious goal: the development of our students, our city, our communities, our state, and the world beyond. We are a game-changing force for our students and their families. Whether our students are enrolled in one of our 47 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, NJCU provides an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty—all of which prepares them to be critical thinkers in a global landscape.

 We’re also changing the game for our city, our communities, and our state. As the educational anchor institution in Jersey City, we’ve established partnerships to ensure the area’s growth directly benefits our students and community members. We seek to improve the lives of everyone in the Garden State, whether creating a home for the arts, bringing educational programs to K-12 students, offering bachelor’s degrees in partnership with community colleges, or providing professional development opportunities for adults.

 At NJCU, we’re not just educating minds, we’re nourishing souls and lifting communities. We’re changing the game.


Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301

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