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  News from the Hill    

The right guy at the right time: Jack Lentz ’67

By Maria Healey

On May 5, Jack Lentz Jr. ’67 chaired his last meeting of the Board of Trustees at Holy Cross, after a six-year term as Chair, and many more as a member of the board. At the conclusion of that meeting, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., thanked Lentz publicly: “Jack has been Chair through three presidents, through some very difficult times for the College, and he has provided a point of stability. He has been a rock. Jack had the right qualities to see the College through the past six years: sensitivity, persistence and the ability to focus on the task at hand.”

Lentz, a managing director at Lehman Brothers in the private equity area, will remain actively committed to the Lift High the Cross Campaign, which he says is crucial in generating the financial resources that the College needs to pursue key strategic goals, even after his retirement from the board.

Prodded by an interviewer to talk a bit about himself, Lentz declines, and instead talks about the College and its needs. “We need to diversify our student body and improve our student-faculty ratio,” he says. “To me Holy Cross’ identity remains unique, a top quality, Jesuit, residential, exclusively undergraduate liberal arts college. It has tremendous advantages in that no one falls through the cracks there. The focus is clearly on the students, and they have tremendous and fertile opportunities to form mentoring relationships with many people, especially the faculty.”

When asked to highlight a memorable experience from his years as Chair, Lentz again deflects attention and instead talks about Fr. McFarland, for whom he served as a “senior advisor.” Working with the Presidential Search Committee, being a part of the selection process that led to Fr. McFarland coming to Holy Cross, is something Lentz found gratifying.

Fr. McFarland puts it this way: “Jack has been a mentor to me, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a very difficult student.” Before presenting Lentz with a wooden gavel as a token of the College’s appreciation, Fr. McFarland continued: “Jack always put the College first. He is tremendously loyal. He has a remarkable sense of duty. He will not be distracted from what he feels is the right thing to do, and he makes huge sacrifices that nobody ever knows about.”

Lentz offers his assessment of the state of Holy Cross: “I think the College is in very good shape,” he says. “Fr. McFarland is a very capable president. I think the students love him. The faculty respects him, and the administration enthusiastically supports him. To his credit, Fr. McFarland has thrown himself into the Campaign in his first years at Holy Cross, and it’s off to a very good start. We already have commitments in excess of 100 million dollars.”

As an alumnus, Lentz has been a President’s Council Lifetime Regent Member, Chair of the Wall Street Regional Campaign Committee, and is a member of the Varsity Club Hall of Fame—but what truly seems to compel Lentz to his alma mater is not what he accomplished there, nor what he’s given to the school since, but the lasting nature of the College itself. Lentz finds inspiration in the fact that—though it has changed and evolved as everything does over the course of his 35-year involvement with the College—Holy Cross has retained certain qualities that continue to set it apart.

“Great friendships are formed there,” he says. “And many young adults develop into outstanding people, men and women for others, and that stems from the great Jesuit tradition and culture of the College.”

“To me,” Lentz says, “the enjoyment, the satisfaction of the position, was to see that Holy Cross has remained a very special place.” This has happened, in no small way, thanks to Jack Lentz.

Fr. McFarland’s final remarks to the retiring chair of the board on the occasion of his last meeting were: “Jack, I can guarantee you, that Holy Cross will never forget you.”



Jack Lentz ’67

Jack Lentz ’67

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