May 3: A Message from the Board Chair

TO: SJU Community
FROM: James M. Norris ’85, Chair, Board of Trustees
RE: A Message from the Board Chair
DATE: May 3, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.

Dear Members of the SJU Community,

Earlier today, you will have received a letter from Dr. Reed sharing the news that he will be leaving Saint Joseph’s to become the 25th President at Loyola University Chicago. It is both a sad day and a proud day for Saint Joseph’s: sad, because we will be losing Dr. Reed as our leader; proud, because Dr. Reed’s appointment is recognition that the broader Jesuit university community has seen the transformation that has been underway at Saint Joseph’s under his leadership.

In his seven years at the helm, Dr. Reed has led Saint Joseph’s through an especially challenging time in higher education and boldly positioned the University for the future. There is so much that I could say about what has been accomplished by Dr. Reed and his leadership team, but I will highlight just a few notable areas that will be part of his legacy and will continue to be advanced by his capable team:

  • We have in place and are executing on both a long-term strategic plan: Thinking Anew, Acting Anew, and a comprehensive master plan for the campus;
  • The academic quality of the institution has greatly increased, with more programs than ever receiving independent recognition for excellence;
  • We established an educational partnership with the Barnes Foundation expanding opportunities for students and the local community, continuing the long-running Horticulture Certificate Program, and renovating the historic Barnes Gallery into the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum;
  • Following the USciences integration into Saint Joseph’s on June 1, we will have greatly expanded the curriculum to include high-demand programs such as physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy and pharmacy;
  • With a focus on sound fiscal management, the endowment has doubled in value and now totals more than $400M;
  • We are about to launch a $300M campaign, by far the largest and most ambitious campaign in our history, anchored by the historic $50M gift from Jim ’58 and Frannie Maguire.

I should note, all of this has been accomplished in the face of the difficult challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Reed’s focus has always been on improving the overall educational experience of our students and enhancing the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission. He has encouraged everyone in the SJU community to “pursue excellence in all that we do,” and that is why the University finds itself in such a position of strength today. I cannot thank him enough for his stewardship of this great University!

Dr. Reed will remain at Saint Joseph’s through August 15. Effective August 15, I am pleased to share that Dr. Cheryl McConnell, our current Provost, will serve as the Interim President. The Board has had numerous opportunities to interact with Dr. McConnell since she arrived at Saint Joseph’s, and we have been impressed with her innovative leadership in Academic Affairs. She has also been a trusted right-hand to Dr. Reed, and the Board has every confidence that Dr. McConnell will lead Saint Joseph’s well in this interim role.

Saint Joseph’s is well-positioned for the future, and it is critical that we continue our forward momentum. To that end, we will immediately commence a national search for the University’s 29th president. In the next two weeks, a presidential search committee will be established and announced to the community. As you know, presidential searches are by necessity a highly confidential process, but I intend to be as transparent and informative as possible throughout the search process while honoring that need for confidentiality.

I know you will join me in expressing your gratitude to Dr. Reed for his excellent service to Saint Joseph’s as well as your congratulations on his new role at Loyola Chicago. Additionally, I know you will support Dr. McConnell when she assumes her interim role as President later this summer. These leadership transitions can be unsettling, but I have observed firsthand the strength, collegiality, compassion and resilience of the Saint Joseph’s community. After more than 170 years of excellence as Philadelphia's Jesuit university, I look forward to what we will accomplish together in the years ahead.


Jim Norris signature

James M. Norris ’85
Chair, Board of Trustees