Fr. Appleyard is first VP for University Mission
and Ministry

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, has announced the establishment of a new vice presidency for University Mission and Ministry that will serve to promote Boston College's distinctive academic and societal mission as a Catholic and Jesuit university.

Fr. Leahy has appointed Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ - a BC graduate, long-time faculty member and former Jesuit Community rector - as the first holder of the office. He will assume the post on Aug. 15.

"As Boston College's status among the nation's finest universities grows, it does so in the context of its Jesuit and Catholic character. In Fr. Joe Appleyard, we have an individual of unusual ability and background who can help lead the efforts to enhance our distinctive identity," said Fr. Leahy.

The vice president for University Mission and Ministry will directly supervise the Boston College Chaplaincy, which serves primarily students, and the Center for Ignatian Spirituality, which was established by BC and its Jesuit Community in 1997 to provide a venue for faculty and staff to explore Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education.

The office also will serve as a resource for, and liaison with, existing programs that promote the Catholic and Jesuit nature of the University in areas such as academic affairs, student affairs, human resources and university relations, and for the collaborative development of new programs in these areas.
Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ.

As vice president, Fr. Appleyard also will serve as the University's liaison to nearby St. Ignatius Parish (a diocesan church staffed by BC Jesuits), and to the BC Jesuit Community's St. Mary's Chapel.

"As a Jesuit university, we have a distinctive tradition of being concerned with students' spiritual and moral development, as well as their intellectual growth," Fr. Appleyard said. "The University's long-term goals include a strong emphasis on this, and they stress the Jesuit educational tradition of linking intellectual inquiry and religious faith, and the conviction that these are mutually illuminating. The challenge is to find ways of making these connections that respect the diverse backgrounds and faith commitments of students, faculty and staff. I hope to be able to work collaboratively with everyone in the University interested in the distinctive mission of BC.

"The changes of the past quarter century have created almost a new Boston College," he added. "It's clear that Fr. Leahy wants to see BC's status continue to rise among the nation's finest universities. I can't imagine a more interesting job than helping to clarify the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of education at the heart of this ambition."

Fr. Appleyard, a native of Malden, Mass., entered the Society of Jesus shortly after he graduated from Boston College with a bachelor's degree in English in 1953. He holds a doctorate in English from Harvard University (1964), and degrees in philosophy from Weston College (1958) and theology from the Canisianum in the Netherlands (1967). He was ordained a priest in 1966.

After serving as assistant Catholic chaplain at Oxford University in 1966-67, Fr. Appleyard joined the BC faculty as an assistant professor of English in 1967. He was promoted to associate professor in 1969, and to full professor in 1991. He served as the department chairman from 1979-1982, and directed the College of Arts and Sciences' Honors Program from 1987-1997.

Fr. Appleyard was responsible for the physical and spiritual well-being of BC's 125-member Jesuit Community, one of the world's largest, as its rector from 1991-1997. During the same period, he was a member of Boston College's Board of Trustees.

He is the author of several scholarly publications, including the books Coleridge's Philosophy of Literature: The Development of a Concept of Poetry 1791-1819 and Becoming a Reader: The Experience of Fiction from Childhood to Adulthood .

Several of his other publications have focused on the interaction of the academic and spiritual aspects of a university. They include "The Languages We Use: Talking About Religious Experience in the University" and "Beyond the Thin Black Line: Models of Jesuit Presence in Colleges and Universities."

In addition to his research, classroom and administrative work, Fr. Appleyard has served on numerous committees since he joined the faculty. They include the University Committee on Liberal Education (1969-71), the University Council on Teaching (1977-79), the Affirmative Action Council (1979-82), the A&S Faculty Senate (1980-82), the Jesuit Institute Administrative Board (1987-97), the National Committee of the Campaign for Boston College (1988-91), the Core Curriculum Task Force (1989-91), the University Academic Planning Council (1994-96), and the UAPC Task Force on Student Formation (1996-97).

He has been a trustee of Fairfield University and the University of Scranton, and currently serves as a trustee of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

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