Paul Vita, Ph.D.


Paul Vita, Ph.D. is the inaugural Vice-Chancellor/President of James Hope University, responsible for the University’s overall leadership and planning, academic and non-academic programs, infrastructure, admissions, and student services, among other responsibilities.

Raised in the U.S.A., Dr. Vita received his B.A. from Yale University. He later attended a summer graduate course at Oxford University, on a full scholarship from the English Speaking Union before pursuing his graduate studies at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he earned three degrees, an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature.

Dr. Vita’s early career was distinguished by his deep commitment to teaching and groundbreaking humanistic research, publishing and editing extensively. His teaching at post-secondary institutions started with his preceptorship at Columbia, where he was selected to teach “Literature Humanities,” a distinctive feature of the College’s internationally renowned core curriculum. He also served as an assistant professor, while completing his dissertation, for two years at Morningside College (now University), in Sioux City, Iowa, during which he was inducted as a faculty member into the National Honors Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, and advised the institution’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, which was awarded the Tommaraasen Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service.

Dr. Vita moved to Spain to join the faculty of Saint Louis University’s Madrid Campus (SLU-Madrid) in 1999. Four months later, he was appointed Director of the Faculty of Communication and English. In this role, he played an instrumental role in launching the institution’s first accredited degree program, the M.A. in English, which transformed the campus into a degree-granting institution. He was promoted to the Deanship in 2008, representing SLU-Madrid as its Chief Academic Officer within the University as well as externally, such as at the annual meetings of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU).

In 2011, the University merged the Dean’s role with that of the Director, and Dr. Vita became SLU-Madrid’s Chief Executive Officer/Vice President, reporting directly to the President and responsible for all campus operations. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of twelve new degree programs (including marketing, psychology, computer science and engineering). He doubled the campus’ enrollment through its successful strategic enrollment and retention management plan, and steered the campus through Spain’s financial crisis as well as the COVID-19 epidemic. He expanded SLU-Madrid’s physical plant, from the renovation of San Ignacio Hall in 2013 to the purchase of additional properties in 2022 and 2023. He founded SLU-Madrid’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee; expanded its community service and engagement programs; chartered its first alumni association; and introduced ceremonial life to the institution through scripting its first commencement and convocation ceremonies. He also accelerated faculty research – introducing research grants and sabbatical leaves – and implemented shared governance structures to transform the SLU-Madrid into, perhaps, the finest and largest – and financially most sound – degree-granting branch campuses of a U.S. university overseas. 

Dr. Vita has received awards and recognitions from institutions ranging from the Mellon Foundation to the Polish Naval Academy in Gandia. He has also served a variety educational and advisory boards, organized countless scholarly meetings and conferences, and served as a reviewer for top journals in his field. In short, he brings to James Hope more than thirty years of experience as a scholar and a leader committed to championing academic rigor, research excellence, and best practices in international higher education.