As Monday’s message from Collegium Chair John Bennett reports, we are about to embark on the search for my successor as President and Vice-Chancellor, someone who will lead the University for a long time to come.
When I was asked to serve as President, I outlined two conditions, both of which were readily accepted. First, I made it clear that I would serve on what I described as a transitional basis. My job would be to help the University get back on track in a number of important areas, preparing the way for a successful long-term tenure by an experienced university administrator.
Second, I said that I would serve if it was agreed that my main task is to ensure that we are faithfully living out our mission as a Catholic university, with emphasis on both words.
Over the last two years I have worked through a to-do list whose various items are all in some way related to the overriding question of mission. We have re-animated the undergraduate College under dynamic new leadership, and are again hiring gifted teachers. We have put our finances and fund-raising in order, and have resumed the kind of serious engagement with our students that promises to enrich campus life. We are about to begin renewal of the Coop and the Brennan lounge, refurbishing much-loved student spaces at the very heart of our community. Most important, we have recommitted ourselves to working out with the University of Toronto the truly mutual accommodation that enables us to be what we are meant to be.
Thanks to the support and guidance of our Chancellor, Cardinal Collins, the Collegium, my USMC colleagues, and our wonderful alumni, we have already addressed many of our most pressing challenges. There is a new excitement about what St. Michael’s is and what we have to offer. We can feel confident as we embark on our search that we are seeking candidates for one of the most important positions in Catholic higher education in North America.
Although the machinery of the search process is now being set in motion, I am not leaving any time soon. The year ahead will see me focus on the graduate and post-graduate side of things, overseeing the development of a new way forward for our Faculty of Theology, something that begins with the imminent arrival of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. We will also be updating our long-standing partnership with the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, and reviewing our Continuing Education program, hoping to reclaim our role as a centre for the formation of the leaders we so urgently need in these times of change.
It is a tremendous privilege to serve with all of you in this exciting period of renewal. I look forward to completing my commitment to the University by sharing in the important task of finding an inspiring and accomplished long-term leader for St. Michael’s.
President and Vice-Chancellor