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BC Grad Goldschmidt to Lead C21 Center

12/15/11
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Erik Goldschmidt (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Dec. 15, 2011

Erik Goldschmidt, a Boston College alumnus and executive vice president of FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) in Washington, DC, has been named director of the Church in the 21st Century Center.

Goldschmidt, who will assume his duties on Jan. 9, succeeds Special Assistant to the President Robert Newton, the center’s interim director for the past 18 months. Interviewed last week, Goldschmidt said he looked forward to guiding C21’s efforts to be a catalyst and resource for the renewal of the Catholic Church.

“I’m honored to be the director of C21 going into its second decade,” said Goldschmidt. “I was a graduate student at Boston College when the C21 Center was founded at a time when the Church needed a forum to engage in difficult conversations about critical issues. I’ve been truly impressed by how C21, through its various programs and publications, has successfully balanced theological engagement and pastoral need. C21 has been a gift to the Church and to the Boston College community.”

Since its inception in 2002, the center has explored four focal issues: handing on the faith, especially with younger Catholics; relationships among lay men and women, deacons, priests, and bishops; sexuality in the Catholic tradition; and the Catholic intellectual tradition. In the past nine years, the center has attracted more than 60,000 people to its programs on campus, has published 16 issues of C21 Resources and 10 books, and developed a website with 300 archived webcasts and hundreds of thousands of visitors from 132 countries. It has also established a social media presence and a new C21 mobile app.

“The center will continue to address salient issues for the Church in a respectful fashion that facilitates productive dialogue,” said Goldschmidt. “The work ahead will build on the success of these past 10 years and ensure that C21 has a greater presence at the national level.”

At FADICA, Goldschmidt coordinated the organization’s work with a younger generation of foundation leaders, managed the planning of a conference on Catholic philanthropy and assisted in identifying foundations with a focus on Catholic giving. Prior to FADICA, Goldschmidt served in a variety of positions in the Lynch School of Education, including teaching fellow, adjunct professor and program director in Boston College’s Center for Child, Family, and Community Partnerships.

Goldschmidt, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology at Boston College, has master of divinity and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in teaching from the University of Portland.

He has a long commitment to Catholic education, both as a researcher and a practitioner. His professional work at Boston College involved examining the academic outcomes of addressing the whole child through implementing a comprehensive student support system in Boston’s urban Catholic elementary schools.

“Erik is both an academic and a person of strong faith,” said University President William P. Leahy, SJ. “He understands the importance of engaging contemporary issues in ways that advance dialogue and understanding, and his own life manifests a deep commitment to Catholic life and values.  I look forward to having him as C21’s next director.”

Fr. Leahy also praised the work of Newton as interim director. 

“Bob cares deeply about C21 and has been actively involved in it from the beginning. I am grateful for his dedicated service, and I am glad that he will continue to be involved in C21 as chair of the steering committee and co-chair of the advisory committee.”