Rev. Philip Boroughs
President, College of the Holy Cross, 2012-
Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2011 16:12
As the Holy Cross community bids farewell to its beloved president, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., the Hill welcomes new College President Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., who will be taking over officially on January 9, 2012. After an extensive national search, the Board of Trustees selected Boroughs for his experience and deep understanding of Jesuit education.
Boroughs has worked in Jesuit higher education for the past twenty years as a faculty member and administrator at Gonzaga University in Seattle, and Georgetown University in Washington. He served on the Board of Trustees at Holy Cross for the past three years and worked at his current post as Georgetown's first Vice President for Mission and Ministry since 2003.
During his time at Georgetown, he was active in regular liturgies, retreats and immersion trips to Kenya. He also traveled to Rome to meet with the Vatican and Jesuit officials about higher education and other international issues.
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Fr. Boroughs holds a Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, C.A., a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago, and a B.A. from Gonzaga University in Spokane, W.A. As a result of all of his education and experiences, Fr. Boroughs brings a new vision to Holy Cross. After observing and working here over the past three years as a trustee, Fr. Boroughs was inspired by the sense of community on campus and looks forward to becoming an even more active part of that community.
"My first plan is to listen and to learn about the community. It's one thing to know the college from the perspective of a board member. But it's another thing to get to know a campus from the ground up," he said. "One of the reasons why I was attracted to Holy Cross was the opportunity I would have to work with students because of our size. I look forward to getting know them and engaging them."
Fr. Boroughs commented on how unique the student body is in its level of interaction both inside and outside the classroom. During one of his visits to campus, Fr. Boroughs witnessed SPUD recruitment night and was impressed by the level of interest in serving the Worcester community, which speaks to the student body's commitment to its mission of being "men and women for others."
"There is a certain openness to learn from the community," he said. "I find that civic engagement to be very exciting." Fr. Boroughs plans to follow in Fr. McFarland's footsteps by attending campus events such as sports games, theater productions, and other social events in order to become a part of the Holy Cross community.
"Fr. McFarland has set the standard for the practice of working with students," Fr. Boroughs said. "You see people at best when you see them in action. I'm looking forward to engaging and watching in all of those contexts."
Through active participation with the entire community, Boroughs seeks to improve the quality of academic life for students and faculty. Some of the ways in which Boroughs hopes to augment what Holy Cross has to offer are the continuation of funding student and faculty research, implementing a capital campaign, potentially purchasing a retreat center, and diversifying the student body by increasing the representation of states in the south and the mid-West.
In beginning a capital campaign, Fr. Boroughs recognized the need for balance and time management in collaborating with many different groups. He stressed the importance of both being present on campus and to alumni, which will require strategy and creativity.
In addition to enhancing the Holy Cross experience, Boroughs also seeks to educate people across the country about what Holy Cross has to offer.
"We have something to offer that we could communicate more effectively in the south and parts of the country that are not as aware of the unique quality of Holy Cross," Fr. Boroughs said.
Boroughs was a beloved member of the Georgetown community and will be missed by students, faculty and staff. In an article in the Georgetown student newspaper, The Hoya, the Student Association President, Michael Meaney, commented on his enjoyment in working with Fr. Boroughs. "I remember walking away thinking he knew exactly how to ensure that Georgetown was fulfilling its commitment to providing a top-notch Jesuit education and how open he was to hearing and integrating student perspective," Meaney said.
As he did at Georgetown, Fr. Boroughs looks forward to working closely with Holy Cross students in creating a college experience that is incredibly meaningful for them.