Dear Members of the University Community,
As you read yesterday, Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J., announced that he will be stepping down from his position as president of Fordham at the end of this academic year, a decision he had taken after a period of discernment and prayer.
The Board of Trustees and the Fordham community have watched with admiration Father McShane’s unbridled energy, pastoral care, long devotion, and deep wisdom. We are deeply grateful for all he has done for the University and its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents. We appreciate his tireless leadership over nearly two decades, including his decisive handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
When he steps down, Father McShane will have overseen 19 years of unprecedented expansion and transformation at Fordham: since 2003, he has raised $1 billion for the University, has overseen the increase of its endowment to more than $1 billion, and has invested $1 billion in new construction and infrastructure improvements. Father McShane transformed Fordham from a well-respected regional institution to a prestigious national university.
While we celebrate and acknowledge Father McShane’s achievements, the University must now prepare for the transition to a new president. To that end, after interviewing several firms, we have engaged Robin Mamlet and Jean Dowdall of WittKieffer, a well-regarded executive search firm with which we have worked on other high-level positions, to assist the University in a national search for the next president of Fordham. Our consultants will hold a series of virtual town halls for students, staff, and faculty to gather input and answer your questions about the search—you will soon receive an email from WittKieffer via the Office of the University Secretary regarding the dates, times, and zoom links for those meetings. We very much encourage you to attend these virtual meetings if at all possible.
In the next week or so, the Board will form a search committee composed of trustees, faculty, staff, and students. The committee will solicit input from the University community, donors, and alumni in shaping the search, and assemble a pool of candidates from diverse backgrounds. The Board expects the search committee to identify its leading candidates by the end of 2021, and the Board will announce the new president of the University in the spring of the new year.
Members of the University community may provide input by emailing FordhamPresident@WittKieffer.
Through this process, we will seek strong, collaborative candidates with experience heading dynamic institutions to lead Fordham into the future. Among the firm’s and search committee’s charges is to uphold a firm commitment to the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and character. Any successful candidate must thoroughly understand and firmly embrace that mission as central to the University’s identity and operation.
We applaud Father McShane’s long and distinguished service to Fordham. His leadership has set the stage for the next president to continue Fordham’s growth and prominence. We will have the opportunity to celebrate Father McShane and his many accomplishments over the coming year.
This is an important moment in Fordham’s history. The Board and search committee look forward to this process and receiving input from you about the search for Fordham’s 33rd president.
Robert D. Daleo, Chair
Fordham University Board of Trustees
Gabelli School of Business, Class of 1972