Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. returns home
to Bay Area
FRANCISCO (April 8, 2014) – The University of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees
voted unanimously to elect the Rev.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. as USF’s 28th president during a special
meeting of the board earlier today. He will take office on Aug. 1, 2014.
Fr. Fitzgerald has worked in higher
education for more than 20 years, and is currently the Senior Vice President
for Academic Affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut, where he oversees the
recruitment and retention of faculty, develops curriculum, and works with deans
to direct academic programs.
At Santa Clara University, Fr.
Fitzgerald was associate dean and senior associate dean for the College of Arts
and Sciences. He has also served on several university boards, including the
Ecclesiastical Board of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College,
the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Chicago, and the Board of Trustees
of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Through a number of teaching and
leadership positions, he has gained a deep understanding of Jesuit education.
“When I received word I was selected as
president, I was absolutely elated,” Fr. Fitzgerald said. “USF has an
impressive legacy. The chance to contribute to this environment of learning and
service is a true honor.”
For Fr. Fitzgerald, this is a
homecoming. He grew up in Los Gatos, Calif. after his family moved from Southern
California when he was 5. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Santa
Clara University in 1980, and entered the Society of Jesus two years later. Fr.
Fitzgerald was ordained to the priesthood at St. Ignatius Church on the USF
campus in 1992.
He gained first-hand
knowledge of the Silicon Valley during his 12 years at Santa Clara University,
and plans to invest personal time and energy engaging the Bay Area’s burgeoning
technology community. Fr. Fitzgerald understands that the Silicon Valley is
moving north and that the City of San Francisco is a vibrant center for
startups, venture capital, and related industries.
“We believe Fr. Fitzgerald is ideally
suited to work with the entire USF community in delivering a Jesuit education
to the next generations of USF students,” said Thomas E. Malloy, chair of the
USF Board of Trustees. “He has a strong commitment to diversity, brings a
global perspective, and is an enthusiastic supporter of intercollegiate
athletics. He is excited about leading San Francisco’s first university and
expanding our partnerships with the community.”
The national search for USF’s new
president began in October 2013. USF’s Board of Trustees appointed a Presidential
Search Committee (PSC) to conduct the search for the next president. It was led
by USF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Chuck Smith, retired president and
CEO of AT&T West, and guided by Isaacson Miller, a highly regarded
national search firm.
“This process has been thorough,
intentional, and wide in scope,” said Smith. “We proactively sought top tier
candidates from across the nation, and President-elect Fitzgerald stood out
among an exceptional pool of applicants. First and foremost, we know he will
sustain and advance the university’s Jesuit mission and identity. He has a
sound working knowledge of the mechanics of higher education and the use of
technology to complement the transformative one-on-one interaction between
faculty and students.”
Fr. Fitzgerald is fluent in German and
French and is conversational in Spanish. He lived, taught, and studied overseas,
which helped shape his global understanding. As a visiting lecturer, he taught
in China during the summer of 1992 and in Kenya in 2004. Fr. Fitzgerald attended
the University of Paris—La Sorbonne, where he earned a D.E.A. (diplôme des
études approfondies) and a Docteur ès Lettres (PhD) in the Sociology of
Religion. Concurrently, he worked toward and received an S.T.D. (Pontifical
Doctorate) in ecclesiology from the Institut Catholique de Paris.
Fr. Fitzgerald succeeds Stephen A.
Privett, S.J., who has served as USF’s president from 2000 to 2014—making him
the third longest serving president in university history. Fr. Privett will
ensure the president-elect’s smooth transition by staying in office until Fr.
Fitzgerald is settled in San Francisco.
request interviews with President-elect Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. please contact
Anne-Marie Devine at (415) 422-2697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of San
University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world's most
innovative and stunning cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of
students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse
student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding
opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco's first university, and
its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice
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