NEW YORK (Dec. 16, 2002) –– The Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., former dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill and president of the University of Scranton, was introduced today at a news conference as Fordham University’s president-designate. Father McShane will succeed the Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., to become the University’s 32nd president on July 1, 2003.
“Over the course of the last two decades, Fordham University has risen to a new level of distinction under the historic tenure of Father O’Hare,” said Paul B. Guenther, chair of Fordham University’s board of trustees. “Today, Fordham stands on the threshold of great promise as one of the premier Catholic universities in the country. I am delighted to welcome Father McShane back to Fordham knowing that his ability to ignite the hearts and minds of the entire Fordham community will continue a grand tradition of excellence.”
A native New Yorker, Father McShane’s family association with Fordham began 74 years ago when his father enrolled as a student. His three brothers followed and he eventually joined the Fordham family in 1987 when he was appointed to the Board of Trustees. He served until 1992, when he was named dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill and professor of theology. In 1998, he became president of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and was reappointed to the Fordham board in 2001. In addition, Father McShane currently serves as a trustee of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Loyola University in New Orleans, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and he is a member of the executive committee of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
Father McShane was recommended to the Fordham Board at the conclusion of a national search directed by Robert E. Campbell, chairman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former chair of the Fordham University Board of Trustees.
Father McShane, 53, entered the Society of Jesus in 1967 after attending Regis High School in Manhattan. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy, and a
master’s degree in English from Boston College in 1972. He received M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and was ordained a priest in 1977. In 1981, he received a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago and went on to serve as a member of the religious studies faculty at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., from 1982 until 1992, becoming chair of the department in 1991.
Father McShane is well known in Jesuit higher education for his collegiality and accessibility to students, faculty and staff alike. The driving force behind the establishment of prestigious fellowship programs at both Fordham and Scranton, Father McShane’s legacy is a culture of scholarship in which students are nurtured, challenged and inspired.
During Father McShane’s tenure as president of the University of Scranton, academic and residential facilities were enhanced significantly, and the number of applications to its undergraduate program has steadily increased to historic levels. Complementing the University’s distinguished history in securing Fulbright Fellowships, Father McShane established the Office of Fellowship Programs broadening the variety of esteemed awards secured by Scranton students. In the last two years alone, students have received 20 prestigious fellowships, including eight Fulbrights, a Truman Scholarship and four Freeman Awards.
A distinguished author, Father McShane’s article in Church, “Virtue Must Advertise: The Bishops and Public Relations,” received the Catholic Press Association first prize in 1992. He is the author of numerous articles including: “Roman Catholicism” in the Encyclopedia Britannica Micropaedia (15th edition); “James Cardinal Gibbons” and “Pope Leo XIII” in the Encyclopedia of Religion; and a book, Sufficiently Radical: Catholicism, Progressivism and the Bishops’ Program of 1919 (Catholic University of America Press, 1986).