Jesuit Father C. Kevin Gillespie was inaugurated as the 27th president of his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, on Oct. 12, at an event attended by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Fr. Gillespie graduated from Saint Joseph’s with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1972, making him only the second alumnus to become president of the university. The first was also a Gillespie: Jesuit Father Cornelius Gillespie, who served in 1900-1907 and again in 1908-1909. Fr. C. Kevin Gillespie isn’t sure if they are related, but his parents and Cornelius Gillespie were both from Donegal, Ireland.
As president of Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie said he looks forward to working with this generation of students. “We’re exposing them to a global way of being in the world for the 21st century that has a confidence, a depth and a potential,” he said. “We’re inspiring students toward an education that’s global and that involves citizenship with values, virtues and sacrifices.”
Fr. Gillespie said that when he was a student at St. Joseph’s he learned about global citizenship through a service trip to Colombia. “It raised my consciousness to see the poor, to see people coming up from the Amazon and Chocó Rivers, and it raised the question: Why them, not me? Why do I have the chance for an education and not them?”
Fr. Gillespie said that Saint Joseph’s taught him to pursue questions in a quest for meaning in life. “I’m still questing, but I have confidence that meaning can be found,” he said.
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie went on to earn a master’s degrees in psychology from Duquesne University and in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology from Boston University.
Prior to his appointment at Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie served as associate provost for University Centers of Excellence at Loyola University Chicago, where he oversaw five academic centers. He succeeds Jesuit Father Timothy R. Lannon, who is now president of Creighton University in Omaha. Read more about Fr. Gillespie in this SJU Magazine article.