SJU Celebrates Formal Inauguration of 27th President

C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J. ’72 names academic distinction as singular priority

Monday, October 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (October 15, 2012) — Saint Joseph’s University officially inaugurated its 27th president C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J. ’72, on Friday, Oct. 12. The inaugural ceremony, held in the Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena, was the culmination of a weeklong series of events. On hand to celebrate were more than 60 presidents and delegates from other colleges and universities, alumni, faculty, staff, students and Fr. Gillespie’s friends and family.

Special guests included the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., D.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia; the Very Reverend James M. Shea, S.J., provincial for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus; United States Congressman Robert A. Brady, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter; and Loyola University Chicago Associate Provost Nancy Tuchman, Ph.D., a friend and former colleague of Fr. Gillespie, who served as the keynote speaker.

In his inaugural address, Fr. Gillespie hit repeatedly on the theme of his inauguration “Awakening to the Magis,” and named academic distinction as the central objective of his presidency.

“Academic life must be meaningful,” said Fr. Gillespie. “It must bring substance and value to daily discourse.  Those in our care, as they awaken their minds, should do so for reasons beyond knowledge itself.  They must do so in order to improve the human condition and ‘make the most of their God-given talents.’ In short, their academic experience — as well as our own — must be one of distinction.”

Fr. Gillespie went on to cite affordability, accessibility and accountability as integral to the University’s future success.

“At Saint Joseph’s, we already strive to be accessible and accountable,” said Fr. Gillespie.  “So the increased diversity within our University community is heartening, but we must do more. Accessibility and accountability get us only two-thirds of the way. If we are truly awakening to the magis, and if this new presidency is to serve a greater good, we simply must find new and creative ways to make the Saint Joseph’s experience more affordable. What we offer is too important and what our graduates bring to the world is too critical to limit the pool of future students.”

Fr. Gillespie’s inauguration is a homecoming for the SJU alumnus with a B.A. in psychology, who went on to earn master’s degrees in psychology from Duquesne University and in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley. He also holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology from Boston University.

Prior to being named president, Fr. Gillespie was associate provost for University Centers of Excellence at Loyola University Chicago, where he oversaw five academic centers.

Media Contact

Kelly Welsh, Director of Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, University Communications, 610-660-1385,


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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