By Katharine Buckley McNamara '81
On July 1, 1994, Rev. Gerard Reedy,
S.J., became the
30th president of Holy Cross, serving until
this past July,
when he resigned for reasons of health.
Soon after taking office at Holy Cross, Fr. Reedy launched a five-point program
to ensure the College's continued status
as the nation's outstanding Catholic liberal arts college. The program
In four short years Fr. Reedy's vision began to
- a $5 million initiative to strengthen teaching and communication via computer
networks and information technologies;
- an implementation of the College's governance process;
- a strengthening of both revenue and non-revenue sports programs;
- a commitment toward increasing the diversity of the College's administration,
faculty and student body;
- and a 10-year academic plan, including plans for a national center for
Catholic undergraduate life.
Holy Cross has moved into the first ranks
of the nation's colleges and universities in our educational technology infrastructure
and utilization. All of our 28 buildings are wired and all faculty offices and
residence rooms are networked (including over 2,500 computers). Holy Cross now
has the infrastructure in place to revolutionize the operation of every corner
of the campus. For the past two years, Yahoo!
Internet Life Magazine has ranked the College among the most wired campuses
in the nation and, CAUSE, the leading association for information technology
professionals, awarded Holy Cross the Excellence in Campus Networking
In 1994, Fr. Reedy inherited a newly reformed faculty governance structure,
based on the principle of shared responsibility. Professor Theresa McBride
was Speaker of the Faculty in this structure.
Fr. Reedy's experience as a faculty member and dean at Fordham gave him an
appreciation for what faculty do - not just teaching and service to the College
and its students, but also the scholarship essential to effective teaching.
He was a good listener and was comfortable with a governance system that was
faculty-directed," says McBride.
Fr. Reedy also enjoyed celebrating faculty achievements. He created the yearly
convocations at which the distinguished Holy Cross professor is honored and
faculty are recognized for 25 years of service to the College."
Fr. Reedy directed the strengthening of non-revenue sports and the resumption
of basketball scholarships (commencing this fall) for men and women. The
decision followed an in-depth, one year review by the College's trustees
of the proper relationship of Holy Cross athletics to admissions, development
and student life (including academics) programs.
These principles and policies, formed and forwarded in a spirit of moderation,
will continue our Holy Cross tradition of locating athletics within the pursuit
of academic excellence. The personal formation sponsored by athletics is only
one part, and not the major part, of the entire intellectual, moral, and religious
formation that is Holy Cross. These policies and principles ground our athletic
activity for the next decade," Fr. Reedy emphasized.
Fr. Reedy declared early in his presidency that he wanted to see the diversity
of the student body double in the next
"His commitment to increasing diversity among both the faculty and student body
was unwavering," says Admissions Director
Ann McDermott '79. "Fr. Reedy encouraged all members of the Holy Cross
community - students, administrators, faculty and alumni - to work together to
improve the representation of diverse populations on campus."
The statistics illustrate steady progress in this area. Students of color make
up 12 percent of the class of 2002. The class of 2001 had 8 percent of its
students in this category. The number of people of color among the faculty,
in the four years
of the Reedy administration.
" Initially change was slow, but with commitment and continued hard work, progress
has been made," notes McDermott.
Strength in Admissions
In 1997, Holy Cross entered the ranks of a select group of the nation's 50 "most
competitive" institutions of higher learning in Barron's Profiles of American
This past year applications for enrollment increased by 4 percent, and fewer
than half of all applicants (47 percent) were accepted. The incoming first-year
class (Class of 2002) has an average combined SAT score of 1252, and a median
high school rank in the 92nd percentile.
Fr. Reedy hired Jacqueline Dansler Peterson, the first woman and first African
American to serve as a vice president at Holy Cross. During 1997-98, she
led a complete reorganization of student life offerings. New programs and
structures have expanded students' outside-the-classroom opportunities for
learning, leadership and service.
A summer orientation was offered for the first time to incoming students to
help ease the transition from home and high school to campus and college. Rather
than wait until August to offer new students an orientation experience, Student
Affairs invited the Class of 2002 and their parents to one of three day-and-a-half
sessions offered in June.
In February 1997, Fr. Reedy presented an address on academic planning to the
faculty governance councils in which he issued a call to begin an initiative
that would answer the question: "Where do we want to be, in academic terms,
ten years from now?"
This initiative contained within it the challenge not only of charting the
academic future of the College but of putting the faculty governance structure
to work on a comprehensive project; contributing to the formulation of a case
statement for the College's next capital campaign; preparing for the reaccreditation
process in the year 2000; and of delving more deeply into the College's mission
statement to further realize its considerable substance.
"Fr. Reedy was dedicated to preserving areas of traditional strength at Holy
Cross while encouraging changes that would enhance its educational mission as
a liberal arts college committed to academic excellence and rooted in the Jesuit
and Catholic tradition," says Stephen Ainlay, dean of the College. "He believed
that the College occupied a distinct niche in higher education and challenged
all of us to find ways of living up to the obligations that necessarily accompany
our distinctiveness and our mission."
The academic planning process, launched by Fr. Reedy, continued throughout
the 1997-98 academic year. The process is expected to reach a conclusion in
In the area of voluntary support of the College, Holy Cross remains among a
select few schools nationwide that can proudly point to alumni participation
rates of 50 percent or higher. This past year has seen previous records of
giving broken in nearly all categories.
Total voluntary support grew to $19 million, far surpassing the previous record
of $14.2 million set in 1994, the last year of the Campaign for Holy Cross.
The College received, for the first time in one year, five gifts in the seven-figure
range, one of which was the largest single gift in our history - a $5 million
charitable remainder trust from Cornelius B. Prior '56.
" The tremendous generosity [of alumni] serves as a strong testimonial to Fr.
Reedy's leadership and to all that he accomplished during his tenure as president," says
acting President Frank Vellaccio.
In the area of fiscal health, the College once again finished in the black
with a surplus in 1997-98. The endowment grew 18 percent, from $265 million
to $314 million.
Finally, Fr. Reedy's foremost concern was always with the students. Not only
did he live in a residence hall (and has for most of his priestly life), but
he met regularly with student leaders, dined with students and found time to
team-teach a class during the fall of 1997. "Moral Weakness," an honors program
seminar, was a collaboration between English Professor Reedy and religious
studies Assistant Professor Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J.
"Jerry Reedy is a gifted, generous and enthusiastic teacher. I was amazed at
the amount of time he was able to give to the students and to preparation, with
the heavy demands of his schedule," says Fr. Linnane. "I also found him to be
a very supportive senior colleague; I know that my own teaching has benefited
from working with him."
When the semester ended, the two professors met to review the students' evaluations
of the seminar and found that students assessed the course as challenging and
helpful in getting them to think about a number of ethical and theological
issues in new ways.
"It became clear to me that the success of this course was particularly gratifying
for Jerry because it reflected what I take to be one of the central goals of
his presidency: that the educational experience at Holy Cross be one that is
ever more intellectually rigorous and, at the same time, broadly Catholic," concluded
“ Your tenure as President has seen a continued
improvement in the reputation of the College. You have sustained and increased
raised the number and quality of applications, maintained high standards for
students, implemented a new governance structure, substantially
overhauled the athletic policy, presided over a nearly 100% increase in our endowment
and concomitant improvement in our financial position, and fostered
diversity of the faculty and students. In short, Holy Cross is
well positioned for the future, and the Board certainly recognizes your significant
H.E. (Jack) Lentz ’67, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, from his letter accepting
Fr. Reedy’s resignation
“…one of the central goals of his presidency:
that the educational experience at Holy Cross be one that is ever more
and, at the same time, broadly Catholic.”
Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J.
“Fr. Reedy encouraged all members of the Holy Cross community – students,
administrators, faculty and alumni – to work together to improve
the representation of diverse populations on campus.”
Ann McDermott ’79, director of admissions
“The tremendous generosity [of alumni] serves as a strong testimonial
to Fr. Reedy’s leadership and to all that he accomplished during
his tenure as president.”
Acting President Frank Vellaccio
The Search for a New President
The College’s Trustees named the following to serve as members of the search
committee for a new Jesuit president:
P. Kevin Condron ’67, Chair
H.E. (Jack) Lentz ’67
Constance A. Eagan ’81
Charles E.F. Millard ’54
John P. Hamill ’61
(all of the above are Trustees)
Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., ’49
John B. Anderson ’57
Associate Professor, History
Associate Professor, Religious Studies
You may send your suggestions to the Committee in care of the President’s
Office, Holy Cross, One College Street, Worcester, MA 01610