Quinnipiac president buys $3.85 million home in Arizona

President Judy Olians new home includes a three-car garage, a heated pool and a veranda.

Photo contributed by Legacy Real Estate Partners

President Judy Olian’s new home includes a three-car garage, a heated pool and a veranda.

Cat Murphy and Daniel Passapera

Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian and her husband Peter Liberti finalized a $3.85 million purchase on Oct. 11, for a 4,899-square-foot home in Arizona, according to property records obtained by the Chronicle.

The records indicate that Olian, the university’s ninth president, and Liberti paid $1.78 million in cash for a down payment on the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom residence at 10929 E Fortuna Drive in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Olian’s Arizona property is nearly 5,000 square feet. (Photo contributed by Legacy Real Estate Partners)

Built this year on a 0.89-acre corner lot in a wealthy neighborhood in North Scottsdale, the single-level home features an attached three-car garage, a heated pool and a veranda, among other amenities, according to the listing. The new home is approximately 35% more expensive than surrounding properties, which have a median $2.5 million price tag, according to Silverleaf Realty.

John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, said the home is intended to serve as Olian’s second home.

“Like many other University leaders, President Olian has had a secondary home in addition to her official campus residence,” Morgan wrote in an email to the Chronicle on Nov. 23. “Along with her husband, Peter, she recently purchased a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, after previously owning a home in California.”

Despite Olian’s multimillion-dollar purchase at age 70, Morgan said she has no intentions of retiring in the near future.

“President Olian is not retiring and looks forward to the work ahead at Quinnipiac,” Morgan wrote.

Former Quinnipiac President John Lahey, whom Olian succeeded, retired in June 2018 at age 72 after serving in the position for more than three decades.

Associate Vice President for Public relations John Morgan said that Olian is not planning on retiring, but that her new home will be a secondary residence. (Photo contributed by Legacy Real Estate Partners)

Olian currently resides with her husband in a university-owned property on Spruce Bank Road in Hamden.

The university purchased the property for $6.5 million in April 2018 and spent an estimated $1.32 million renovating the property between 2018 and 2020, according to town property records.

Quinnipiac acquired the 30-acre lot, located just behind the Mount Carmel campus’ Hilltop Lot, months after announcing Olian would succeed Lahey. The New Haven Register reported in 2019 that Quinnipiac’s presidents had historically lived in off-campus housing paid for by the university prior to the 2018 purchase.

The university sought approval from the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission in Oct. 2019 to change the Spruce Bank property from residential to university use. The commission rejected the application, which would have exempted the property from taxes due to Quinnipiac’s nonprofit designation.

Morgan declined to comment on the property’s operational costs.

It is also unclear whether Olian—who, according to property records, sold her $3 million Los Angeles home three days before taking office as president—has lived in university-owned housing for the duration of her four-year tenure.

Morgan, who declined to provide additional information on the intended purpose of Olian’s Arizona home, also declined to comment on how much time the president plans to spend at her secondary residence.

The Center for Investigative Reporting reported in 2013 that Olian, then-dean of the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, had accumulated nearly $650,000 in travel and lodging expenses between 2008 and 2012.

Olian, whose travel expenses surpassed those of the UCLA chancellor and each of the university’s 16 other deans, submitted doctors’ notes to circumvent the university’s travel policy that prohibited faculty from flying in business or first class without a medical waiver, according to the report.

It is unknown whether Quinnipiac will reimburse Olian for any expenses she accrues traveling between Connecticut and Arizona. Morgan wrote in a separate email to the Chronicle on Nov. 23, that the university does not intend to comment further on the matter.