Five Questions With Fr. Boroughs

The following ran in the spring 2021 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.

Alt text: Looking away from the camera, Fr. Boroughs, president of Holy Cross, stands in front of the Joyce Contemplative Center in West Boylston, Massachusetts.

When you think back on your tenure as president of the College, of what are you most proud?

I am proud of so many aspects of Holy Cross, it’s hard to choose just one. There are our extraordinarily bright and engaged students and our devoted faculty who, respectively, rise to the challenge of and deliver the exceptional academic programs for which the College is known. There is our hard-working staff, whose daily care and concern for us and our campus creates a home for our experience of community. I find joy in our extremely supportive and generous alumni and board members, who teamed to ensure that the Become More campaign was such a success. And I am grateful for my collaborative and hardworking executive team, which supports me in the strategic leadership of the College.

Comparing the Holy Cross of your 2012 arrival to the Holy Cross of 2021, where have you seen the greatest change or evolution?

There has been a significant rise in women in leadership. For example, women currently comprise 75% of the executive team. Fifty percent of the College’s academic departments are chaired by women, as well as the Office of the College Chaplains, and Information and Technology Services, among many key departments and programs.

Reflective of our student body and our world at large, today we also see a greater diversity among faculty and have placed a focus on critical diversity initiatives across all segments of the campus community. Clearly, we still have more work to do here.

Through major capital projects, our campus has evolved physically via the dynamic Prior Center for Performing Arts, the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex for our varsity athletic teams, and the newly opened Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center for the entire campus community. And just 15 minutes away we have the spectacular Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center.

Increasing resources for financial aid has been a continued commitment and priority, most recently with our new Hope + Access Campaign for Financial Aid, which aims to raise $40 million for need-based financial aid, ensuring that the life-changing education that Holy Cross provides is available and accessible to all admitted students.

And we’ve seen significant growth in academic interdisciplinary programs and resources for career development, as well as programs to promote reflection, discernment and prayer.

What will you miss most about Holy Cross?

I will miss the people of the College and our extraordinary sense of community; it is a spirit we experience in person, as well as in dispersion, as we have over the past year. I’ll miss my Jesuit brothers: working, ministering and living with them in community at Ciampi Hall. I will miss engaging with our incredible alumni, both on campus and across the country, in person and virtually. Their love for Holy Cross, their generosity of time and talent, and their passion for sharing our mission around the world will be impossible to forget.

I’m also going to miss seeing the long-overdue development of Worcester, our home and community partner, which over the past several years has grown in myriad exciting ways. While Worcester’s charm and opportunities may be news to those outside our region, I’ve long recognized it as the vibrant, dynamic and diverse city it is today.

Where is your favorite spot on campus or place that has significant meaning to you?

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Chapel in the Joyce Contemplative Center is amazingly beautiful; I experience a sense of awe every time that I enter that sacred space. And my office, Fenwick 119, with its historic wall carvings, is a favorite spot as well.

Starting July 1, you are on sabbatical for one year. What are you most looking forward to? Do you have any goals or plans for that time?

I’m going to visit my siblings, cousins and their families, who primarily live on the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, and those on my Dad’s side who reside in Scotland and England. I’m planning on spending time with the Jesuits and other old friends in my home province on the West Coast, and I am exploring an opportunity in Kenya for next spring, which will depend on the movement of the pandemic.