Christopher McIsaac '97
Managing Director, Vanguard International
Member, Saint Joseph's Athletics Advisory Council
Born in Canada, Chris McIsaac ’97 traveled with his high school lacrosse team in the spring of ’93 to compete in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. A fluke snowstorm moved an April Fool’s Day game against Penncrest High School in Media, Pennsylvania, to Saint Joseph’s because the University’s lacrosse field had artificial turf. During the game, McIsaac drew the attention of Hawks Head Lacrosse Coach Patrick Dennin, who recruited McIsaac to play for the University. McIsaac would go on to earn a spot in the men’s lacrosse record book for being the third all-time leader in goals and fourth in assists.
Inspired by the role that investing could play in helping families achieve financial security, McIsaac majored in finance. His time at Saint Joseph’s on and off the lacrosse field helped build confidence and further develop his values — assets that helped propel him through his undergraduate education and on to the MBA program at Harvard, as well as in various leadership roles during his career.
“It is easy for me to see the common element across St. Joe’s and Vanguard: an orientation toward others. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about we, and what good we can do for society,” says McIsaac, who was appointed head of Vanguard International when Jim Norris ’85 retired in December 2020. “Vanguard’s culture is first and foremost about doing the right thing by our clients.”
Had McIsaac been allowed to choose all of his own classes at Saint Joseph’s, he admits that he would have selected more practical courses in business, finance and technology. But over time, he realized that an education rooted in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities deepened his written and verbal communication skills and enhanced his critical thinking ability.
“I think the competitive difference for Saint Joseph’s University is that it focuses on the liberal arts education to really give students a platform that will serve them incredibly well in a world that continues to change,” says McIsaac, who serves on the University’s Athletics Advisory Council. “You need capabilities, mindsets and approaches that can stand the test of time and that will serve students in multiple environments.”
Since joining Vanguard in 1997 as a business analyst, McIsaac has helped to advance strategy and improve investor services. Regarding his new role, he says that he has inherited a strong international business division from his predecessor.
“For me, it’s really all about just trying to build on that momentum that Jim Norris created for us,” McIsaac says.