One of Fr. Boroughs' first official events was Academic Convocation in late January, where he welcomed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas '71 as he received an honorary degree.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., moved into the President's office and his new home in Ciampi Hall at the start of 2012, and began meeting as many members of the Holy Cross community as possible in his first few weeks. Making visits to various faculty meetings, introducing himself to staff through town hall-style gatherings, participating in student events and simply greeting people on campus have helped the former Georgetown vice president become acquainted with his new extended family on the Hill.
"Holy Cross has the reputation of being a warm and engaged educational community, and I have discovered how true that is," Fr. Boroughs commented after his first week. "I have been very moved by the kindness, generosity and genuine care that I have received from many individuals and groups on campus who have helped me to move in and get established. People are extremely friendly and welcoming and have gone out of their way to introduce themselves and offer assistance."
Fr. Boroughs has clear priorities on his agenda, including filling the position of Vice President for Development. "We also need to finalize the specifics of the strategic plan and begin prioritizing the goals of our upcoming capital campaign," Fr. Boroughs says. He also notes, "In a more general sense, my first task is to listen to the diverse voices and communities on campus to learn from their experience of the College and its strengths and needs and to gain insight from their collective wisdom."
Fr. Boroughs was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Seattle. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in 1973, and received a master of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology (Chicago) in 1978. He later received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley (1987) and his Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. in 1989.
Fr. Boroughs entered the Society of Jesus in 1967, was ordained a priest in 1978 and made his final vows as a Jesuit in 1986.
The College's new leader, who lists Dr. Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University; Dr. Jack DeGioia, president of Georgetown University; and Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J., president of the University of San Francisco; among the academic leaders he most admires, says that, though the learning curve for his new role is intense, the work is "exciting and energizing."
Students have had the chance to talk with their new president at several events. During the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership luncheon (part of the Aptissimi Leadership Conference in January), Fr. Boroughs told students, "It is important to know that leadership is not simply the consequence of your education, your talents or your desire. True leadership most typically happens when others call you to leadership in light of the gifts you have that match the needs of a particular time, place and circumstance."
At Senior Convocation on Jan. 23, Fr. Boroughs advised students gathered in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel to savor the blessings of their final semester at Holy Cross, while looking forward to the blessings in the next chapter of their lives. On Jan. 24 in the Mary Chapel, Fr. Boroughs led the first Community Prayer service (a celebration of the many faiths at Holy Cross) with Virginia Coakley, assistant chaplain and director of Protestant & ALANA ministries.
Asked how he prepared himself to take on the weighty mantle of becoming the 32nd president of the College, Fr. Boroughs mentioned his sabbatical, during which he visited family in Seattle, British Columbia, London and Scotland; and friends in Portland, Ore., Ireland, Louisville, Palm Beach and St. Croix. "Having time to enjoy the beauty of the Northwest, time for a retreat and time to read and think was wonderfully rejuvenating," he says. "Now, I look forward to living in a smaller city where one can really feel part of the life of the civic community, and I look forward to becoming part of this remarkable College."
In September 2012, the College will celebrate the inauguration of Fr. Boroughs with several events, including a Mass and installation ceremony on Sept. 14. Details about the program will appear on holycross.edu and in the summer issue of Holy Cross Magazine.