Letters to Loyola: An Honor and Pleasure
February 10, 2022
I have made the very difficult decision to step down as president of Loyola this summer to become the first lay president of Fordham University in New York.
I can’t quite describe how bittersweet this is for me. My time at Loyola has been the privilege of my life, to be part of helping the University emerge from its recent struggles and to build momentum that will continue to grow long after I am gone. My plan had been to stay at Loyola for as long as you would have me and to live in New Orleans for the rest of my life. When Fordham first called, I gave them a quick no. But I have spent much prayerful discernment deciding whether my responsibilities are to this institution and this city, or to Jesuit higher education and the world more broadly. As the problems of the world seem ever more urgent every day, I have decided it is the latter.
What we achieved together has given Loyola a momentum that not even a global pandemic or major hurricane could shake. The new programs and partnerships we created will increase resources for years to come. Our new technology systems will leap us ahead in efficiency and capacity. We have strong systems of financial responsibility and accountability. And we have attracted so much talent, from the cabinet to the deans and beyond.
Most of all, what I learned on my arrival is that Loyola’s greatest strength is its culture. The passionate tenacity of faculty and staff focuses on what matters – teaching and serving our students. The University’s crisis awoke an entrepreneurial spirit that has made Loyola nimble and ambitious. It uncovered so much talent across the institution and invested in your ideas.
I know that this Board of Trustees will choose a successor deserving of you, someone who leads in the Ignatian way – with warmth and compassion. In the meantime, I am happy to tell you that they have chosen Fr. Justin Daffron, S.J., vice president of mission and identity, who has long and broad experience in higher education administration, to serve as interim president next year. He has been my thought partner on much of our strategy and the one who molds our cabinet together as a team.
I was born in New York after my parents met as Fordham graduate students, but I was raised in New Orleans and on Loyola’s campus. This community has shaped me in more ways that I can ever know. This is, and always will be, my home.
I know it is a much overused line, but the reason Shakespeare described parting as “such sweet sorrow” is that it makes you appreciate the depths of your love. I love you all very much.
Prayers and Blessings,