Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has named Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. as its next president. He will begin his term on July 1, 2020.
Fr. Garanzini was elected by the AJCU Board of Directors, chaired by Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., President of Loyola University Maryland. Fr. Linnane said, “On behalf of the presidents of our Jesuit colleges and universities, I am delighted to welcome Fr. Garanzini to Washington, where he will lead AJCU. Fr. Garanzini brings decades of experience in Jesuit higher education to the role, and I know that the Association will thrive under his leadership in the years to come.”
Fr. Garanzini currently serves as both Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus, and Chair of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). He will complete his eighth year of service to the international network of Jesuit higher education while working at AJCU.
Prior to these roles, Fr. Garanzini was president of Loyola University Chicago from 2001 to 2015. During his fourteen years at Loyola, he served on the AJCU Board of Directors, including a term as Chair. Under his leadership, Loyola grew in national recognition as an innovator in higher education, thanks to the establishment of Arrupe College, the first Jesuit community college in the United States.
While serving as Secretary for Higher Education, Fr. Garanzini led several initiatives to facilitate national and international collaboration among Jesuit institutions. In 2013, he hosted the first-ever meeting of Jesuit provincials, presidents and board chairs of U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities with Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, at Loyola Chicago. It was during this meeting that Fr. Nicolás delivered an address in which he called for “spiritual and heroic leadership” among all caretakers of Jesuit institutions.
In 2016, Fr. Garanzini served as a delegate for General Congregation 36: a convening of Jesuits from across the world to elect a new Superior General and issue a new set of decrees for the Society of Jesus. In response to a call for increased networking during GC36, Fr. Garanzini organized a meeting at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain in 2018, to launch the International Association of Jesuit Universities.
The role of convener comes naturally to Fr. Garanzini, who has an academic and professional background in psychology. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Louis University, and a Doctorate in Psychology and Religion from the Graduate Theological Union / University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at the University of San Francisco, the Gregorian University in Rome, Rockhurst University and Fordham University. Additional academic appointments include four years as academic vice president at Saint Louis University, and two years as special assistant to the president at Georgetown University. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1971 and was ordained as a priest in 1980.
Fr. Garanzini welcomes the opportunity to join AJCU and serve as its next president. He said, “This is an incredible honor for me, and I’m really looking forward to working with the presidents and our institutions as president of AJCU. This is a challenging time for all of us, and so the need to work together has never been more important. I know that I can count on our presidents to work closely and support each other, to ensure that Jesuit higher education continues to thrive for years to come.”
Fr. Garanzini succeeds Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., who has served as president of AJCU since April 2013. Fr. Sheeran will move to Saint Louis University this summer, to serve in a pastoral role for faculty, students and alumni. He said, “I congratulate Fr. Garanzini on his new role as president of AJCU. It has been a joy to lead the Association over the past seven years, and I am delighted to entrust my office to a new leader.”