BRONX, N.Y. (Jan 21, 2004)—The Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill and associate professor of history, was named president-elect of Fairfield University today. Effective July 1, 2004, Father von Arx will succeed the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J.
“It is with a sense of humility and of the great responsibility bestowed on me that I accept the invitation of the Board of Trustees to serve as Fairfield’s eighth president,” said Father von Arx at a news conference held on the Fairfield, Conn., campus earlier today. “Moments of transition are full of hope and promise. … I ask your prayers and support in the responsibility I will undertake as I pledge … the dedication of my mind, heart and soul to the task that is ahead.”
During his tenure at Fordham, Father von Arx, 56, enhanced undergraduate opportunities and academic offerings in the sciences by garnering funding for undergraduate summer science research fellowships, expanding the science curriculum in biochemistry, applied physics, applied math and math education, and advancing the need for a new science facility as a University fundraising priority.
To support scholarship and performance in the arts, Father von Arx created programs and facilities for music, dance and the visual arts. Under his leadership, the prestigious fellowship and study-abroad programs grew into University-wide operations, generating a significant increase in student participation.
Engaging students outside of the classroom, Father von Arx serves as a faculty-in-residence in O’Hare Hall, enriching the residential college concept to incorporate scholarship, citizenship and service.
“Since Father von Arx has provided Fordham College at Rose Hill with such enlightened leadership, this is a bittersweet moment for the whole Fordham community,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University. “We rejoice in his appointment as the president-elect of Fairfield University, but we know that we will be much the poorer as a result of his departure. I know that I speak for everyone on our campus when I say that we wish him Godspeed, and when I say that the Board of Trustees of Fairfield has made an inspired decision in choosing him as their next president.”
Father von Arx arrived at Fordham in 1998 from Georgetown University, where he served as chair of the history department and director of Georgetown’s Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies in the School of Foreign Service.
Father von Arx received his Ph.D. in history from Yale and his A.B. in history from Princeton. A noted scholar and historian, Father von Arx is an expert in the field of
19th-century British history. He is the author of several articles and a book titled Progress and Pessimism: Religion, Politics and History in Late Nineteenth Century Britain (Harvard University Press, 1985).