On a spectacular September afternoon, with breezes wafting signature Presidential Inauguration banners and streamers at events across campus, Mount St. James was a joyous backdrop for the official welcome of the 32nd president of the College of the Holy Cross.
The inaugural events for Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., actually began two days earlier on Sept. 12, and continued into the weekend with a special program of music, dance and entertainment developed exclusively by students.
At the presidential installation ceremony, speeches by John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, and Fr. Boroughs emphasized the importance of a Jesuit, liberal arts education—especially in these complex and uncertain times.
The distinctive identity of Holy Cross will be a source of strength in the face of growing challenges that have enveloped higher education across the country, said DeGioia, who worked with Fr. Boroughs in his role as vice president for mission at Georgetown. He specifically pointed out three characteristics that speak to its reputation: the enduring value of a liberal arts education, the unparalleled community on Mount St. James, and the spirituality that serves as a source of “incomparable worth.”
On Friday morning, the Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, was held in St. Joseph Chapel. Following the Mass (which included a choir composed of students and alumni), Fr. Boroughs was missioned to serve as president of Holy Cross by the provincial of his home province, Rev. Patrick J. Lee, S.J., provincial of Oregon. Then, led by Jacqueline Peterson, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, the Holy Cross community of faculty, staff, and students, extended a blessing upon their new president.
That afternoon, more than 1,500 people — including students, neighbors, parents, alumni, staff and administrators — were on hand to view the academic procession preceding the installation ceremony. Led by the Holy Cross marching band, more than 160 delegates from colleges, universities, and learned societies across the United States, along with faculty, and Trustees of the College processed past students and into the Hart Recreation Center.
Greetings were extended by P. Kevin Condron ’67, chair of the Board of Trustees; Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray; Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty; Anna Maria College President Jack P. Calareso; the Very Rev. Patrick J. Lee, S.J., provincial of Oregon; the Very Rev. Myles N. Sheehan, S.J., provincial of New England; Patricia E. Kramer, associate professor of psychology and speaker of the faculty; Paul J. Misci ’13 and Kate J. Shea ’13, co-chairs of the Student Government Association; Kenneth McNickles, dining manager in the Jesuit residence; and Maureen E. Moran ’89, president of the Holy Cross Alumni Association.
After being installed as president by Condron, Fr. Boroughs, in his presidential address, echoed the remarks of DeGioia: that a Jesuit, liberal arts education has the durability to withstand the test of time even as numerous present-day forces threaten the very fabric of traditional higher education. The Jesuit emphasis on being “contemplatives in action” — learning that is both active and reflective — will guide the College as it is forced to make difficult decisions in the near future, he said.
Other inauguration events included a reception on Sept. 12 for about two dozen religious leaders from Worcester hosted by the Jesuit community.
On Thursday, a faculty symposium titled “Imagining Teaching and Learning at a Jesuit Liberal Arts College in the 21st Century” featured a panel of faculty presenters including Robert Bellin, associate professor of biology; Ericka Fisher, associate professor of education; and Jonathan Mulrooney, associate professor of English. Guest respondents included Sister Janet Eisner, president of Emmanuel College; Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University; and Daniel Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College. They explored the topics within the context of defining and affirming the leadership role that Holy Cross and liberal arts education can, must, and will play in understanding and enhancing the world.
On the evening of Sept. 15, a program of musical and other entertainment was scheduled to be held at Kimball Quad.
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