Sr. Janet

Sr. Janet Eisner, SND

Sister Janet Eisner, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, is the nation's longest-serving woman college president currently in office. Since her inauguration in 1979, she has led Emmanuel through a time of exceptional innovation, achievement and growth. 

In addition to her responsibilities at Emmanuel College, Sister Janet currently serves on the Executive Committee of MASCO (the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization, Inc.), and on the boards of the Colleges of the Fenway and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and previously served on the board of Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

Sister Janet has influenced the shaping of educational and public policy through her service on several regional, national and advisory boards and commissions. These include the Association of Governing Boards, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts. She has also been a member of the American Council on Education's Commission on Women in Higher Education and has served on various committees for the Archdiocese of Boston. She holds an A.B. degree from Emmanuel, an M.A. from Boston College and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. .

Dr. Michael Galligan-Stierle

Dr. Michael Galligan-Stierle


Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D. has been president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC, since 2010. During the seven years of his presidency, the association has significantly grown its revenue, programming, and staffing.

Prior to that, Michael served for five years as Vice President of ACCU and for five years as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Assistant Secretary for Catholic Higher Education and Campus Ministry. He has a Ph.D. in sacred scripture and an M.A. in psychology. In addition to 17 years as a national and international association leader in higher education, Michael has 30 years of experience in various higher educational settings as a campus minister, religious studies undergraduate and graduate professor, seminary teacher, diocesan higher education administrator, and practicum director for graduate students in pastoral ministry.

Michael’s first book, GOSPEL ON CAMPUS, is viewed as a standard for Catholic campus ministry in the United States. In addition to authoring numerous articles, Michael is the editor of a text of 15 presidents and15 bishops entitled PROMISING PRACTICES: COLLABORATION AMONG CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS. Sparked by the success of his two books on Catholic colleges and universities: A MISSION OFFICER HANDBOOK: ADVANCING CATHOLIC IDENTITY AND UNIVERSITY MISSION, volume I, and A MISSION OFFICER HANDBOOK: COLLABORATING WITH PARTNERS, volume II, Michael has partnered with leaders in student affairs in editing a new book: STUDENT LIFE IN CATHOLIC HIGHER EDUC ATION: ADVANCING GOOD PRACTICE.

Michael has been married for 39 years to Pamela, and they are the proud parents of two biological and two adopted children, and grandparents of six grandchildren.


Rev. Michael Himes

Rev. Michael Himes


Rev. Michael Himes was ordained to the priesthood for the diocese of Brooklyn in 1972. He was awarded his Ph.D. with distinction in the History of Christianity from the University of Chicago. From 1977 until 1987 he served as Dean of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY, and from 1987 until 1993 was Associate Professor and director of the collegiate program in Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Currently he is Professor of Theology at Boston College. Also a Fellow of Clare College in the University of Cambridge, he has been awarded four honorary doctorates and is a recipient of the Social Concerns Medal of the University of Notre Dame and the Washington Theological Union’s Sophia Award for Excellence in Theology.

Father Himes’s books include Fullness of Faith: The Public Significance of Theology, which he co-authored with his brother and which was awarded the Catholic Press Association Book Award in 1994. Other books include Doing the Truth in Love: Conversations about God, Relationships and Service, and Ongoing Incarnation: Johann Adam Mohler and the Beginnings of Modern Ecclesiology, which received the Catholic Press Association Book Award in 1998. He is co-author of Finding God in All Things and The Legacy of the Tubingen School, an associate editor of The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, and translator of a nineteenth-century classic, J.S. Drey’s Introduction to the Study of Theology. His articles have appeared in many books and numerous journals here and in England and he lectures widely in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.


Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M.

Dennis Holtschneider served as president of DePaul University from 2004 to 2017, and was subsequently named Chancellor.  On August 1st, he will become the EVP/COO of Ascension, the nation’s largest non-profit health system where among other responsibilities he will oversee strategy and government relations for the $26 billion system with 2500 care sites across the nation. Father Holtschneider began his career at Saint John's University (NY) where he concurrently served as an assistant professor of higher education and associate dean of the liberal arts college.  From 2000 to 2004, he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Niagara University, where he directed the university's strategic planning and daily campus operations, and served as clinical associate professor of higher education at SUNY Buffalo.  He has led two studies examining trends in governance and leadership at American Catholic colleges and universities and is the author of one book and numerous articles on strategy and governance in U.S. and Catholic higher education.  He has served on the boards of the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), which he chaired.  He holds degrees in mathematics and theology and received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in administration, planning and social policy.


Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, SJ

Gregory Kalscheur, S.J. is the Dean of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College.  Fr. Kalscheur joined the faculty of the Boston College Law School in 2003, and from August 2012 to May 2014 he served as the Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Faculty Development in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He received his A.B. in 1985 from Georgetown University and his J.D. in 1988 from the University of Michigan. After law school, he clerked for Judge Kenneth F. Ripple, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and worked as a litigator at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C. 

After entering the Society of Jesus in 1992, Father Kalscheur served as Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Assistant to the Director of the Center for Values and Service at Loyola College in Maryland (1996-98) and as Associate Pastor at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Raleigh, N.C. (2001-02).

Father Kalscheur’s primary teaching and research interests include law and religion, constitutional law, civil procedure, Catholic social thought and the law, and the contributions of Ignatian spirituality to the character of Jesuit education.

Much of Father Kalscheur’s scholarship draws on the insights of the Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray regarding religious freedom and the role of civil law in promoting the common good.  In Healthy Secularity and the Task of a Catholic University, 73 Theological Studies 924-34 (December 2012), he suggests that we can also learn a great deal from Murray’s reflections on the purpose of the Catholic university as an institution that might be a place of enlarged dialogue characterized by healthy secularity in pursuit of the wholeness of truth.  Father Kalscheur has also published on Jesuit education and engagement with the Catholic intellectual tradition, and through his work as co-chair of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition subcommittee of BC’s Church in the 21st Century Center Advisory Committee, he took the lead in drafting a publication entitled, The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: A Conversation at Boston College, /content/dam/files/top/church21/pdf/cit.pdf

Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.

Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.

William P. Leahy, S.J., the 25th president of Boston College, entered the Society of Jesus in 1967.  Fr. Leahy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Louis University, a M.Div. and S.T.M. from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and a doctorate in United States history from Stanford University.  He was ordained a priest in 1978.  Prior to his appointment as president of Boston College in 1996, he was a member of the history department and executive vice president of Marquette University. 

Fr. Leahy is a Trustee of Boston College and is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. He is also the author of Adapting to America:  Catholics, Jesuits and Higher Education in the Twentieth Century, as well as various articles on religious and educational history in the United States.


Dr. Patrick McCormick

Dr. McCormick received his S.T.D. in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1984, taught at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Allentown, PA from 1985-90, at St. John’s University in Queens, NY from 1990-93, and did a postgraduate fellowship in bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic from 1993-94. Since 1994 Patrick has taught Christian Ethics at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where he is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Religious Studies Department.

Patrick has written Sin as Addiction (Paulist Press: 1989), Character, Choices & Community: The Three Faces of Christian Ethics (Paulist Press, 1998), Facing Ethical Issues: Dimensions of Character, Choice and Community (Paulist Press, 2002), and A Banqueter’s Guide to the All Night Soup Kitchen of the Kingdom of God (Liturgical Press, 2004). Writing mainly in the area of Catholic Social Thought, Patrick has published two dozen articles in theological journals. Since 1994 he has written a monthly column on Christianity and Culture for U.S. Catholic.

Mary Pat Seurkamp

Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp

Dr. Seurkamp is currently the president of MPS Consulting Group, LLC and a founding partner of MPK&D Higher Education and Leadership Consulting. Through these firms, she serves as a consultant with an executive compensation and assessment firm and an investment management firm, and has provided formal and informal consulting to senior leadership in higher education. Dr. Seurkamp also presently serves as senior advisor and director for the CIC New Presidents Program. The CIC (Council of Independent Colleges) represents more than 600 colleges, universities, and organizations.

Dr. Seurkamp was the first permanent lay president of Notre Dame of Maryland University, serving from 1997 until her retirement in 2012 when she was named President Emerita. Previously, Dr. Seurkamp served at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York for 21 years holding the positions of Vice President for Institutional Planning and Research, Vice President for Academic Services and Planning and Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Dr. Seurkamp also served in a variety of academic and student affairs capacities in the earlier part of her career at St. John Fisher College and Gannon University.

Dr. Seurkamp represented Notre Dame with significant participation on national and local boards. She served as chair of the Maryland Independent College and University Association for three years and continues to serve as a member of various not-for-profit boards of educational and healthcare institutions.  She previously served as chair of the Board of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and as a member of the Board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Dr. Seurkamp graduated from Webster University in 1968 with a B.A. degree in psychology, from Washington University in 1969 with an M.A. in guidance and counseling, and from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990 with a Ph.D. in higher education.


Dr. James Trainer

Dr. Trainer is an Associate Vice President at Villanova University where he reports jointly to both the President and the Provost and directs the Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPIR).  He previously served 11 years as Director of Planning and Assessment at Villanova.  Prior to arriving at Villanova, in 2000, Jim served for eight years as Director of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), a national organization of 138 independent colleges and universities. In addition to his administrative work, Jim teaches graduate level courses at Villanova.

Jim is a past President of both the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the North East Association of Institutional Research (NEAIR) and has served on the Board of Director of HEDS as well as on the steering and advisory committees for a variety of other associations and organizations.  He is a regular conference presenter and a published author.  Jim serves as a consultant to a number of organizations. He was a founding member of the Catholic Higher Education Research Cooperative (CHERC) and serves as an ex officio member of the CHERC Board of Directors.  He is presently on the advisory committee for the ACCU sponsored Catholic Identity Mission Assessment (CIMA) project.

Jim holds a B.S. degree from Delaware Valley College where he is a past President of the Alumni Association and served on the Board of Trustees for 14 years, including seven as chair.  He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Penn State University, where he also remains active.


Dr. Cynthia Zane

Cynthia A. Zane assumed office as Hilbert College’s president in July 2006 and is serving as the institution’s third president since its founding in 1957.  A native of Johnstown, Pa., Zane has had a broad career in higher education. She previously was chief academic officer and dean of the faculty at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. Prior to this, she spent 10 years (1991-2001) at the University of Detroit Mercy where she was dean of the McAuley School of Nursing and also the College of Health Professions, an area for which she was previously associate dean.  While at her alma mater, Saint Xavier College in Chicago, Zane was on the School of Nursing faculty (1979-91) and was later named assistant dean of continuing studies and director of the institution’s weekend college (1988-91).

Zane is currently serving on the Boards of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (Chairperson 2013-14), Catholic Health System, and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). With respect to CIC, she is serving on the Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges steering committee. She earned a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in nursing from Rush University, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Xavier University.  Zane is married to Stephen Mazurak, is the proud mother of three grown sons and has a new grandson.

Dr. Alicia Cordoba Tait

Dr. Alicia Cordoba Tait

Dr. Alicia Cordoba Tait, Professor of Music, formerly department chair of music and fine arts  and interim director of Campus Ministry, has been the Assistant to the President for Mission Integration for the past four years, and the Director of the Center for Mission and Identity for over a decade at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. She received degrees in oboe performance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and from The Juilliard School in New York City, she was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in English horn performance. Dr. Tait has taught a variety of courses in music and the humanities, and has been invited as a consultant and to present at conferences on her expertise in areas of professional development, strategic planning, critical thinking, Benedictine spirituality, musical performance and musicianship. In her role as chief mission officer at Benedictine University, she has provided leadership to ensure and advance the Catholic and Benedictine mission identity of the institution. 

Michael James

Dr. Michael James

Prior to his appointment at Boston College, Michael served as the Vice President for research and professional development with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC, and as the Senior Officer and Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Mount Marty College, Yankton, SD.  He has held a variety of student-service administrative positions in admissions, financial aid and residence life at both Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.  Michael James is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he studied Theology and Psychology.  He earned his MA and Ph.D. in philosophy of education, and educational policy studies and higher education administration from the Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Michael is Director of the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education and a full-time Lecturer in the Boston College graduate program of Higher Education Administration where he coordinates the degree concentration in Spirituality, Faith and Formation in Higher Education.  He is formerly the Chief-Editor of the research journal, Journal of Catholic Education and co-editor for the academic journal, Claritas: A Journal of Culture and Dialogue.  Michael lectures internationally on topics including: educational leadership; institutional mission and strategic planning and spirituality, faith and the college student experience.  Dr. James is a recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship Award bestowed by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators.  Michael’s most recent book publications include Education’s Highest Aim: Teaching and Learning Through a Spirituality of Communion.  2010. New City Press: Hyde Park, NY. and 5 Steps to Effective Student Leadership. 2014.  New City Press: Hyde Park, NY.

It was an inspiring and mind-stretching conference. The fact that several of us from the same institution have attended over the years has given us a helpful set of common experiences and ideas.
Dr. Mary Francine Danis, Professor of English, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX