The network of Jesuit colleges and universities along with countless colleagues, students, and friends are mourning the death of former Holy Cross president Rev. Gerard C. Reedy, S.J., who died March 11. He was 76.
Fr. Reedy was the 30th president of Holy Cross, serving from 1994 to 1998 before stepping down for health reasons.
Of critical importance to Father Reedy during his tenure at Holy Cross was increasing the diversity of the College’s administration, faculty, and student body, a goal he realized in just four years as president. Students of color comprised 12 percent of the class of 2002 — an increase from 8 percent for the class prior; the number of people of color among faculty nearly doubled.
Also under his leadership, Holy Cross transformed its educational technology infrastructure, earning it national recognition in the mid-’90s as one of the “most wired campuses in the nation.”
Fr. Reedy devoted nearly 40 years of his career to teaching and leadership at Fordham University. He arrived as an assistant professor of English in 1973 and later served as chair of the English department. He moved into the administration in 1986 as dean of Fordham College, followed by roles as dean of arts and sciences faculty and vice president for academic affairs before being named president of Holy Cross.
At the time of his death, he had served as University Professor at Fordham University since 2008.
“The Society of Jesus lost a great man today,” said Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “I could say many things about Fr. Reedy — that he was a pioneer in Jesuit higher education, that he was a distinguished scholar, that he was a gifted teacher — all true. But he was also a gentleman through and through, a warm and generous mentor, and a friend. We will all miss him greatly.”
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., currently president of Loyola University of Maryland and formerly professor and assistant dean at Holy Cross, said: “Fr. Reedy was a well-regarded scholar of 18th Century British literature and he did a lot of work on the literature around sermons at that time. He was a very engaged scholar.”
While Fr. Linnane and Fr. Reedy were at Holy Cross together, they co-taught an interdisciplinary honors program seminar on theology, literature, and film during the fall of 1997, “Moral Weakness.”
In an article in Holy Cross Magazine commemorating Fr. Reedy’s presidency at Holy Cross, Fr. Linnane reflected on that course: “Jerry Reedy is a gifted, generous, and enthusiastic teacher. I was amazed at the amount of time he was able to give to the students and to preparation. The success of this course was particularly gratifying for Jerry because it reflected what I take to be one of the central goals of his presidency — that the educational experience at Holy Cross be one that is ever more intellectually rigorous and, at the same time, broadly Catholic.”
A prolific writer, Fr. Reedy authored numerous articles published in academic journals and wrote two books, “The Bible and Reason: Anglicans and Scripture in Late Seventeenth-Century England” and “Robert South (1634-1716): An Introduction to His Life and Sermons.”
Born in Bellerose, New York, on Oct. 25, 1939, Fr. Reedy was son of Charles and Margaret (Deasy) Reedy. He attended Regis High School in New York and entered the Society of Jesus in 1957. He studied philosophy at Loyola Seminary and theology at Woodstock College, before earning his Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fordham University Church (Bronx, N.Y.)
Friday, March 18
3-5 p.m., 7-9 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial:
Fordham University Church
Saturday, March 19
Fr. Linnane will deliver the homily.
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