Photo by Dan Vaillancourt
The College of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees has elected Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., as the College’s 32nd president. The vote was taken at a meeting of the Trustees on the College’s campus and announced by P. Kevin Condron ’67, chair of the Board.
Fr. Boroughs, currently vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University, will assume office at Holy Cross in January 2012, succeeding Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., who had announced in February that he was stepping down after a highly successful presidency spanning 11 years. Fr. McFarland will continue as president until Fr. Boroughs arrives.
“The members of the Board of Trustees are delighted that Fr. Boroughs has accepted our invitation to bring his vision and talent to Holy Cross,” said Condron. “The College is entering a critically important and challenging time as we finalize our strategic priorities and begin planning a capital campaign. With his skill, experience, and deep understanding of Jesuit higher education, Fr. Boroughs is the ideal person to lead Holy Cross. We look forward to welcoming him to our community.”
Commenting on the selection of his successor, Fr. McFarland said: “I have very much enjoyed working with Fr. Boroughs during his three years as a trustee. He has shown an impressive interest in and understanding of Holy Cross and its community, and he has the qualities needed to lead this institution. He is thoughtful and perceptive, with good listening, communication, and interpersonal skills. His management experience, especially as a key vice president at Georgetown, has given him a good grasp of what it takes to pursue excellence in higher education and the ability to achieve it. I am very pleased that he has made himself available for this position and that the Board has chosen him for it.”
A Presidential Search Committee composed of trustees and faculty representatives conducted a national search to identify Fr. McFarland’s successor. “Fr. Boroughs impressed the members of the Search Committee with his vision for Holy Cross and clear understanding of our mission and priorities,” said Trustee John J. Mahoney, Jr. ’73, chair of the Presidential Search Committee which conducted the national search for the next president. “In both our pursuit of academic excellence and the development of resources to do our best work in the service of our students and families, we are confident that Fr. Boroughs will bring Holy Cross to new levels in the years ahead.”
Fr. Boroughs, 61, who has served as a member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees since 2008, has been professionally involved in Jesuit higher education for 20 years as a faculty member and administrator at Gonzaga, Seattle, and Georgetown universities. He was appointed in 2003 to his current post as Georgetown’s first-ever vice president for mission and ministry. There, he is the only Jesuit serving as a senior university administrator. In addition to overseeing a division of the university as well as ministry on campus and at Georgetown University Hospital, Fr. Boroughs directs numerous programs for faculty, staff, students, and alumni which further Catholic and Jesuit identity.
Prior to coming to Georgetown, Fr. Boroughs served as the rector of the Jesuit Community at Seattle University where he was also a faculty member in the School of Theology and Ministry and an administrator (1992-2001). Previously, he taught religious studies at Gonzaga University (1989-91), served as the assistant novice director for the Oregon Province of Jesuits (1980-82), and was a parish priest at St. Leo Church in Tacoma, Wash. (1978-80). He is a former member of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco.
“From my first days as a member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees, the distinctive mission of Holy Cross—along with the themes of academic rigor in a liberal arts environment, the commitment to teaching and learning, the emphasis on social justice, meaning and value—have resonated with me,” Fr. Boroughs said. “It is an honor and a great privilege to have been selected to join the Holy Cross community as its next president.”
Fr. Boroughs was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Seattle, the third of five children of the late Robert and Catherine Boroughs. He entered the Jesuit order in 1967, was ordained a priest in 1978, and made his final vows as a Jesuit in 1986.
He holds a Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. His doctoral dissertation was on John Woolman (1720-1772), the itinerant Quaker preacher in Colonial America, who advocated against slavery and whose journal is considered a spiritual classic.
Fr. Boroughs holds a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley; and a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago. He received his B.A. from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.
He travels frequently for both professional responsibilities and personal interests. He has relatives in Canada, Scotland, and England; his four siblings live on the West Coast, and he enjoys hiking and outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest. He has traveled regularly to Kenya, leading Georgetown faculty and staff on immersion experiences and in connection with his longstanding commitment to support and raise funds for St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School in Nairobi. St. Aloysius serves young people from the slum of Kibera whose parents have died of AIDS.
As he makes plans to move to Worcester, he also anticipates enhancing the partnerships and community-based learning Holy Cross has championed in the city. “When I first joined the board three years ago, I made it a point to tour Worcester and visit as many neighborhoods and community sites as possible,” he said. “I am struck by the wonderful diversity in Worcester and impressed with the involvement both Holy Cross and its students have with so many community institutions and organizations. I very much look forward to getting to know the city.”