This year, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is bidding a bittersweet farewell to seven outgoing presidents of our member institutions. From coast to coast, from the 20th century into the 21st, these seven individuals have led our institutions with wisdom, faith and strength, inspiring countless colleagues, students, alumni and friends along the way.

We have compiled a series of tributes from colleagues at our member institutions, who shared their favorite memories and well-wishes for our presidents. We invite you to view the videos and photos, and read through the written tributes on this page. Please note: Full written tributes are available to view in a PDF file: click here to download it online. You are also welcome to submit your well-wishes in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

On behalf of our president, Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., we thank all of our presidents and pray for the next chapters of their journey!

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., College of the Holy Cross (2012-2021)

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“I would truly the describe the man as a visionary because the way in which he came and found this campus is not the way he’s leaving it. We’re better. The College is better. Holy Cross is better for it.”

“He has a faith in his purpose in life and that purpose, for the last eight years, was to take Holy Cross to a higher level.”

“He exemplifies his faith in God by having faith in all of us.”

“The peace and dignity that you brought to your service is an example to us all.”

Dr. Michael D. Johnson, John Carroll University (2018-2021)


“Here is a man who cares about people as much as he cares about the important work we are about. In working with Michael over these past two years, my initial impression has been confirmed over and over again. Michael embodies a balance between cura personalis and cura apostolica.” – Dr. Steven T. Herbert, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, John Carroll University

“I have greatly appreciated my friendship with Michael during his years at John Carroll. We Jesuits at JCU have often enjoyed the company of Michael and his wonderful wife, Jill, in our home – Schell House Jesuit Community. As Michael embarks upon new adventures in life, we in the Jesuit community wish Jill and him all of the best that the good Lord can offer.” – Rev. Tom Pipp, S.J., Jesuit Community Rector, John Carroll University


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A tribute from Dr. Edward Peck, Vice President for University Mission and Identity at John Carroll University

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A tribute from Dr. Tiffany Galvin Green, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at John Carroll University

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A tribute from Rev. James Bretzke, S.J., Professor of Moral Theology at John Carroll University

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Loyola University Maryland (2005-2021)


“After these many years of working together, I will need to adjust to the idea that you are no longer at the helm of my alma mater. Best wishes to Fr. Linnane in his new role as President Emeritus of Loyola University Maryland. What does the next chapter hold in store?” – Dr. Robert Kelly, Special Assistant to the President, Loyola University Maryland


“Fr. Linnane made incredible strides to bring greater diversity to Loyola long before these efforts to diversify the student body, faculty and staff became well known in Jesuit higher education. In recent years, six African American vice presidents of Jesuit institutions were nurtured at Loyola: the impact of this will continue to inspire students and staff throughout the Jesuit network.” – Dr. Susan Donovan, President, Bellarmine University (Former Executive Vice President, Loyola University Maryland)


“I have heard Fr. Linnane say often that being the President of Loyola has been one of the great joys of his life. Working alongside him has been one the great joys of mine.” – Terry Sawyer, Senior Vice President of Advancement, Loyola University Maryland


Rev. Kevin F. O’Brien, S.J., Santa Clara University (2019-2021)


“Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. brought Ignatian spirituality to life for generations of Jesuit Leadership Seminar (now known as the AJCU Leadership Institute) alums. He led us through the Examen and introduced us to the Spiritual Exercises, inviting us into a deeper connection with the spiritual roots of our tradition.

At the Seminar, we knew that we could always count on Fr. O’Brien’s support. No matter how busy he was, he generously gave time and talent to the formation of his lay colleagues. Fr. O’Brien challenged and inspired us to live our vocations in Jesuit higher education with joy, and to leave our time together, in the words of St. Ignatius, to ‘Go and set the world on fire.’”

– Dr. Jeanne Lord, Director of the AJCU Leadership Institute

Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Seattle University (1997-2021)


“He is the definition of ‘Servant Leadership’ as seen in his caring, discerning, and mission-driven decision-making. We will miss his wisdom, his perseverance and his wonderful sense of humor and I wish him well on his next journey.” – Nicole Piasecki, Chair, Board of Directors, Seattle University

“Over the past 24 years, he has led the University to levels we never thought possible. I cannot overstate the respect and love I have for this man, who personifies the Jesuit mission of ‘Education for Justice.’” – Jim Sinegal, Former Trustee, Seattle University


“A few years ago, Fr. Steve was the keynote speaker for an MLK Prayer Breakfast. His speech was about “White Privilege.” Making a speech like that took a lot of courage. Most people in the audience did not want to hear that message. As I sat there listening to him speak, I was so proud that he was the president of my university.” – Judge Anita M. Crawford-Willis, Board of Regents, Seattle University


“He is as ‘at home in his own skin’ as any person I’ve known, yet he has been willing to reexamine his own thinking on the issues that occupy the minds of our students, faculty and staff, holding regular open forums and hosting office visits to actively listen to the voices of others, particularly those feeling most marginalized in our campus community.” – Tim Leary, Executive Vice President, Seattle University


“In 2008, Fr. Steve and I were both able to visit the White House and meet President George W. Bush. It was in recognition of a program that had our students assisting local businesses in boosting their export sales. The President had to scold me for something I said, and Fr. Steve still takes great pleasure in reminding me about that.” – Joe Phillips, Dean of the Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University


Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J., Xavier University (2001-2021)


“To say that Fr. Graham will be deeply missed by the entire Xavier community is an understatement…It is not just what Fr. Graham has accomplished (though there are many), but how he has done it that is the mark of a true leader and a man for others.” – Barbara J. Howard, Former Chair, Board of Directors, Xavier University


“Fr. Graham will probably never understand the full extent of his impact on me, an African American woman raised in the South, during the Jim Crow era. You see, he gave me more than just an opportunity to advance in my career in a way I could not have imagined, but I was afforded the space and freedom to find myself and become the person that I am today.” – Dr. Janice Walker, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Xavier University


“Fr. Graham has provided incredible servant leadership in all areas but, most important, as a Jesuit, Catholic priest, he has created a culture of compassion, Magis and Cura Personalis for our students, faculty, and staff. He will always be a part of the Xavier community and Xavier will forever be a part of him.” – Gary Massa, Vice President of University Relations, Xavier University


Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., The University of Scranton (2003-2011, 2018-2021; Deceased: March 10, 2021)


“While we first met in 2002, it felt like Fr. Pilarz was always our great friend, confidant, and inspiration since the beginning of time.” – John and Jackie Dionne, Trustees, The University of Scranton


“The word that I have thought most about since March is ‘Love.’ Scott loved Scranton, he loved Jesuit education, and he loved his family and friends.” – Bobby Davis, Vice President for Student Life, The University of Scranton


“We became close friends with Fr. Pilarz. He came to visit our home overnight several times, right up to the end. We miss him very much.” – Kip Condron, Former Chair, Board of Directors, The University of Scranton



“He was never more alive than when in the presence of students. No doubt his legacy will live on for generations.” – Tom Mackinnon, Vice President of University Advancement, The University of Scranton


“While I’ll reflect on my friendship with Scott for years to come, in these early days since his passing, I’ve thought most about his passion for poetry. He most loved poems that capture the spark or essence of what makes us human and, in doing so, give us a glimpse of the divine. Scott was that spark and that glimpse for me.” – Gerry Zaboski, Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and External Affairs, The University of Scranton