A Look Toward the Future


A Look Toward to the Future

Changes in leadership, need to affirm Catholic identity highlight talks

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

On a day when he welcomed the newest member of Boston College's transformed leadership, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, announced at Convocation Wednesday afternoon that one of BC's administrative mainstays, Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella, is leaving his position.

Fr. Leahy said Campanella will step down as EVP at the end of the 2000-01 academic year and, following a sabbatical, return to teaching at the Carroll School of Management. A search will start immediately for his successor, whom Fr. Leahy said would start sometime next summer.

Having reported the beginning of one major administrative search, Fr. Leahy proclaimed the end of another: the appointment of Alberto Godenzi, chair of the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, as dean of the Graduate School of Social Work.

Campanella - who received a sustained standing ovation following Fr. Leahy's address - and Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John J. Neuhauser also spoke at the traditional year-opening event, held in Robsham Theater.

Fr. Leahy affirmed his belief in the University's mission as a Jesuit and Catholic institution, especially its task in fostering a sense of community and personal formation among its students.

"I want Boston College to be a place of service to the Catholic Church, a place where the Church learns, and teaches, and helps inform discussions," he said, "where we engage questions from not only the full range of Catholic perspectives - whether traditional or liberal - but also from the perspectives of other faiths as well."

The announcement of Campanella's decision to leave the executive vice presidency after more than 25 years of almost continuous service, however, was one of the focal points of Convocation. Fr. Leahy praised Campanella's "crucial role" in the development of Boston College into a nationally recognized institution. In baseball terms, Fr. Leahy quipped, he would be a "20-game winner and a Hall-of-Famer."

"We have all benefited from his integrity, wisdom, and commitment," Fr. Leahy said. "I regard him as a loyal friend, someone I have especially enjoyed working with these past four years."

Fr. Leahy also lauded two other recently departed administrators: Kevin Duffy, who stepped down as vice president for student affairs last month and will join the Lynch School of Education next year; and Alfred Pennino, who retired this summer as associate vice president for planning and construction.

The newest members of the University's leadership team were singled out for praise as well: Vice President for Student Affairs Cheryl Presley; Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Thomas Devine; Carroll School of Management Dean Helen Frame Peters; Director of Campus Ministry James Erps, SJ; and Godenzi.

Fr. Leahy briefly recounted the Ignatian legacy of Boston College, and went on to describe how the University must continue to fulfill it. In addition to helping Roman Catholic students and the larger Catholic community develop a deeper knowledge of their heritage, Fr. Leahy said BC should engage questions of the day and prize the liberal arts "as key to intellectual and personal development"; promote "engagement of questions concerning faith and the transcendent"; and foster culture and the arts "for their own sake."

Encouraging a sense of community is another goal for the University, added Fr. Leahy, pointing to the Cornerstone program, the work of the Jesuit Institute and Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and the forthcoming interfaith worship space at 66 Commonwealth Avenue as examples of how this might be accomplished.

Fr. Leahy likened Boston College to a bridge, joining "disparate landscapes and sometimes distant shores." Building on the University's success, he said, will require the joining of scholarly endeavors and undergraduate teaching.

BC's aspirations also will depend upon support from alumni and friends, said Fr. Leahy, reporting on the progress of the Ever to Excel Campaign. The University received more than $48 million in gifts and $75 million in pledges last year - both records - and the campaign has amassed $235 million. He expressed confidence that the campaign would achieve its goal of $400 million.

"Likewise, we will prevail in the greater campaign, the campaign to continue building an extraordinary institution of higher education in Chestnut Hill," Fr. Leahy said.

Campanella, who thanked the University community for their support and good work during his tenure as EVP, reported on developments in the University's Information Technology division, notably the recent change in its administration. He also said he and Neuhauser would seek to facilitate broad discussion on technology-related faculty support and use.

In addition, Campanella discussed financial-related trends likely to affect BC in the near future. The University is strong in many areas compared to when he assumed the executive vice presidency in 1973: a net worth of $1.34 billion; an operating surplus every year; an endowment of $1.1 billion; and faculty salaries in the upper percentiles for comparable national institutions.

But some of the strategies and methods used to fashion this impressive financial achievement are, or will be, no longer feasible, Campanella said. He called for the formulation of a new institutional financial model, one that will take into consideration both the University's ambitions and limitations.

"With careful and thoughtful choices," he concluded, "we can in 25 years look back to the year 2000 and recognize Boston College's new strengths, rooted in the work we do today."

Neuhauser reported some of the positive academic-related trends experienced by the University during the past year, such as the nearly 21,000 applications for the Class of 2004, leading to a 32 percent admission rate and a 34 percent yield - evidence, he said, "of our strength amongst prospective applicants." Twenty-two percent of the freshman class are AHANA students, he continued, including 115 African-American students.

He also noted that GSSW, LSOE and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences had encouraging admissions outlooks, and that the Law School was particularly selective, having 5,000 applications for about 275 spots.

Neuhauser emphasized the need to "raise the intellectual climate" at Boston College, and to form a "distinctive identity" in the higher education spectrum.


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