Holy Cross Welcomes Jesuit Fr. Boroughs to its Campus as New President

One of Fr. Boroughs, S.J.’s first official events at the College of the Holy Cross was its academic convocation in late January, where he welcomed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, ‘71 Holy Cross graduate, as he received an honorary degree.

With a tradition of academic excellence that dates to its founding in 1843, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. is the oldest Catholic college in New England. This year, students and faculty welcomed Jesuit Father Philip Boroughs to the hillside campus as the college’s 32nd president.

This piece below about Fr. Borough’s arrival to Holy Cross originally appeared in the Spring issue of their magazine. You can find out more about Holy Cross and its academics grounded in the Jesuit tradition via this link.

Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs moved into the president’s office at the College of the Holy Cross at the start of 2012 and began meeting as many members of the community as possible in his first few weeks. Making visits to various faculty meetings, introducing himself to staff through town hall-style gatherings, participating in student events and simply greeting people on campus have helped the former Georgetown vice president become acquainted with his new extended family.

“Holy Cross has the reputation of being a warm and engaged educational community, and I have discovered how true that is,” Fr. Boroughs commented after his first week. “I have been very moved by the kindness, generosity and genuine care that I have received from many individuals and groups on campus who have helped me to move in and get established. People are extremely friendly and welcoming and have gone out of their way to introduce themselves and offer assistance.”

The college’s new leader, who lists Dr. Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University; Dr. Jack DeGioia, president of Georgetown University; and Jesuit Father Stephen Privett, president of the University of San Francisco; among the academic leaders he most admires, says that, though the learning curve for his new role is intense, the work is “exciting and energizing.”

Fr. Boroughs was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Seattle. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in 1973, and received a master of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology (Chicago) in 1978. He later received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. in 1989.

Fr. Boroughs entered the Society of Jesus in 1967, was ordained a priest in 1978 and made his final vows as a Jesuit in 1986.

Students have had the chance to talk with their new president at several events. During the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership luncheon in January, Fr. Boroughs told students, “It is important to know that leadership is not simply the consequence of your education, your talents or your desire. True leadership most typically happens when others call you to leadership in light of the gifts you have that match the needs of a particular time, place and circumstance.”

Asked how he prepared himself to take on the weighty mantle of becoming the 32nd president of the Holy Cross, Fr. Boroughs mentioned his sabbatical, during which he visited family in Seattle, British Columbia, London and Scotland; and friends in Portland, Ore., Ireland, Louisville, Palm Beach and St. Croix. “Having time to enjoy the beauty of the Northwest, time for a retreat and time to read and think was wonderfully rejuvenating,” he says. “Now, I look forward to living in a smaller city where one can really feel part of the life of the civic community, and I look forward to becoming part of this remarkable college.”

In September 2012, the college will celebrate the inauguration of Fr. Boroughs with several events, including a Mass and installation ceremony on Sept. 14.

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