New President at USF

St. Ignatius Church, University of San Francisco. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

On the heels of Saint Louis University, Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI), and LeMoyne College (Syracuse, NY) hiring new presidents, the University of San Francisco became the fourth Jesuit college or university in as many weeks to announce a change at the helm.

 As reported by SFGate.com, USF has named Fr. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., as the successor to longtime president Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J. Fr. Fitzgerald is currently vice president for academic affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut. According to the article, Fr. Fitzgerald brings with him a remarkable set of credentials: "Fitzgerald speaks German, French and Spanish. He has taught in China and Kenya, and he earned a doctorate in the sociology of religion at the Sorbonne in Paris. While in Paris, he earned a pontifical doctorate in ecclesiology from the Institut Catholique de Paris." Wow.

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The official statement from USF details Fr. Fitzgerald's extensive experience in higher education and offers a preview of some of Fr. Fitzgerald's priorities:

Fr. Fitzgerald has worked in higher education for more than 20 years and is currently the senior vice president for academic affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he oversees the recruitment and retention of faculty, develops curriculum, and works with deans to direct academic programs. Previously, he worked at Santa Clara University as associate dean and senior associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the boards of trustees at Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Fr. Fitzgerald also says he'll practice "budgetary restraint, fiscal discipline, and modest discounting in order to fund plant renewal, invest in new degree programs, and grow the endowment. In the long run, a larger endowment will moderate costs to students and their families and afford USF the capacity to seize opportunities as they arise.

The tech industry's growing presence in the city is a strong opportunity for USF, Fr. Fitzgerald said, and he'll spend time and energy engaging its leaders. "The City of San Francisco is becoming a vibrant center for startups and venture capital. USF can be at the heart of this story, helping to steer the direction of change in the city for good. USF can align academic programs to educate the knowledge workers for these new industries. We can provide continuing and executive education for the city's evolving population. And USF can form research partnerships and joint ventures built on collaborations between faculty and firms in the city."

Fr. Fitzgerald will officially begin his tenure on August 1, 2014. To read the University's press release, click here. Prayers and best wishes to Fr. Fitzgerald and the USF community. 

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