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 Ill be the first to admit Im a very
difficult student. Before presenting Lentz with a wooden
gavel as a token of the Colleges 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
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 its off to a very good start. We already
have commitments in excess of 100 million dollars.
As an alumnus, Lentz has been a Presidents Council
Lifetime Regent Member, Chair of the Wall Street Regional
Campaign Committee, and is a member of the Varsity Club Hall
of Famebut what truly seems to compel Lentz to his
alma mater is not what he accomplished there, nor what hes
given to the school since, but the lasting nature of the
College itself. Lentz finds inspiration in the fact thatthough
it has changed and evolved as everything does over the course
of his 35-year involvement with the CollegeHoly 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. McFarlands 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.