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President Boroughs Announces Plan to Step Aside

Fr. Boroughs will leave the College in June after a nine-year tenure
September 22nd, 2020 by 

Philip Boroughs, president of the college

The Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College of the Holy Cross, announced Tuesday that this academic year will be his last, ending a nine-year tenure marked by the largest fundraising campaign in school history, new buildings, and expanded academic and cocurricular programming.

Fr. Boroughs, 71, is the 32nd president of the Jesuit liberal arts college, the oldest Catholic college in New England. In a live video address to campus on Tuesday, he said he will stay on until June 30, 2021, and then take a one-year sabbatical before receiving a new assignment from the Jesuit Order. A national search for Fr. Boroughs’ replacement will begin shortly.

“I feel that new energy and some different skills are needed to address the realities of the coming years,” Fr. Boroughs said in a message to campus and alumni. “This time feels like a natural inflection and transition point for the institution: our seven-year campaign just ended most successfully and we have just begun a strategic planning process that will set goals for the College for the next three to five years. As I know from my own experience, it is important that a new president be part of that process, as it will give shape to his or her energies and commitments throughout their term of office.”

Rick Patterson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said, “Father Boroughs has been an inspirational, inclusive leader of our beloved College and a tireless champion for all that our Holy Cross family values. The transformation that he drove atop Mount St. James, as well as the construction of the stunning Contemplative Center in West Boylston, will enhance the spiritual, intellectual and physical well being of countless generations of Holy Cross students.”

Fr. Boroughs assumed office in Jan. 2012. Since then, Holy Cross has successfully completed a $420 million capital campaign through the generosity of alumni who continue to place the College in the top 10 in the nation in alumni giving participation. The College also instituted new academic initiatives, including the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, Arts Transcending Borders, and the Scholarship in Action program, which funds faculty research in Worcester. During Fr. Boroughs’ tenure, Holy Cross’ Division 1 athletics program has consistently performed in the top 10 in the nation with a graduation success rate of at least 97%.

Fr. Boroughs also led efforts to make Holy Cross a more diverse, inclusive campus. During his tenure, the College created the Office of International Students and joined the American Talent Initiative, which seeks to expand access for low-income and first-generation students. Holy Cross opened a new office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and created a new position, Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to lead efforts in that area. A new office of Title IX initiatives and equal opportunity was also created during this time.

Under Fr. Boroughs’ leadership, the College has begun or completed transformational capital projects, with a priority on furthering an education which integrates mind, body, spirit and community. In 2016, the College opened the Joyce Contemplative Center, a new 33,800-square foot complex in West Boylston, Mass., which has allowed for expanded and additional retreat programming for students, alumni, faculty and staff. In 2018, the College unveiled a dramatically expanded Luth Athletic Complex, which greatly enhanced facilities available to Holy Cross athletics teams. In the next year, the College is on track to open two new buildings on campus: a dramatic, state of the art Performing Arts Center; and the Joanne Luth Recreation and Wellness Center to serve students, faculty and staff and promote healthy opportunities for recreation and exercise.

Immediately before coming to Holy Cross, Fr. Boroughs served as Georgetown University’s first vice president for mission and ministry from 2003 to 2011. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s University; the Board of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts; and the Council of Presidents of the Patriot League, for which he served as chair from 2015-2017. He also served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and has served on the Board of the University of San Francisco.

Fr. Boroughs earned his B.A. from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in 1973, and received a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology (Chicago) in 1978. He holds a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley (1987) and received a Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, Calif.) in 1989.

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