Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU
(202) 862-9893, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J. on a return visit to AJCU’s office in Washington, D.C. in 2018
Fr. Lucey with President Barack Obama in 2012 at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast
(L-R) Rev. Patrick Conroy, S.J. (former U.S. House of Representatives Chaplain); Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. (former president of Seattle University); Fr. Lucey; and Luisa Sanchez (Georgetown University graduate) at the 2013 AJCU Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Lucey with Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of the University of Detroit Mercy, at his inauguration in 2012
Fr. Lucey in handshake with U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) at the 2015 AJCU Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
(L-R): Rev. William George, S.J. (senior advisor at the Gregorian Foundation); Rev. James Fleming, S.J. (executive director of the Campion Center); and Fr. Lucey at the 2015 AJCU Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Lucey with former U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) at the 2013 AJCU Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Lucey with participants from the Ignatian Colleagues Program in Summer 2021
Fr. Lucey (right) with fellow former AJCU president, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., at the AJCU office in Washington, D.C. in March 2020
Fr. Lucey with AJCU’s vice president of communications, Deanna Howes Spiro, at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL in February 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) mourns the passing of Rev. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J., who died on Thursday, September 30 after a recent diagnosis of melanoma. He was 88 years old.
Fr. Lucey served as president of AJCU from 2011-2013. Prior to this role, he served as president of Spring Hill College from 1997-2009. After leaving AJCU, he returned to Spring Hill to serve another term as president between 2013-2015, and then as chancellor from 2015 to 2019.
Fr. Lucey’s tenure at AJCU was not his first position in Washington, D.C.; he previously lived in the nation’s capital in the early 1990s, when he served as president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Other positions he held throughout his extensive career in Jesuit higher education included rector of the Jesuit community at Marquette University and vice president for development at Seattle University.
During his time at AJCU, Fr. Lucey spent six months visiting the nation’s Jesuit colleges and universities, where he met with presidents, Jesuits and administrators, all of whom provided input that shaped the creation of a new strategic plan for the Association. A focus on mission programming was integral to the plan, leading to the Ignatian Colleagues Program becoming officially incorporated into AJCU; the creation of the AJCU Mission Advisory Committee; and the development of the document, Some Characteristics of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
Considerable focus was given to the AJCU Conferences (professional affinity groups for faculty and staff at Jesuit colleges and universities): Fr. Lucey oversaw the first joint meeting between AJCU Conference Chairs; encouraged their collaboration; and frequently attended their meetings. Fr. Lucey was also an active member of the AJCU Government Relations Network, serving as a strong advocate for Jesuit higher education on Capitol Hill, both before and during his tenure at AJCU.
AJCU’s current president, Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., remarked on Fr. Lucey’s legacy. He said, “Fr. Lucey gave most of his life’s energy to working in Jesuit education, especially in higher education. Anyone who worked with or knew him saw his wisdom and his care for people and for our schools—most especially Spring Hill. His deep concern came from his indomitable spirit of optimism. What we have learned from him is something we need to be reminded of today: the Lord guides our projects. The difficulties and challenges we experience today can be managed if we rely on Him even as we work as if everything depends on our good efforts. This was St. Ignatius’ advice and Fr. Lucey lived it.”
Fr. Lucey found a second home in Mobile, AL, thanks to his tenure at Spring Hill, but he was a Midwesterner through and through. Fr. Lucey was born and raised in a large Irish Catholic family in Ferryville, Wisconsin, where faith and public service were pillars for him and his siblings, including his brother, former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey. Fr. Lucey was a masterful storyteller, appreciated a good sense of humor, and could be heard a mile away by his deep hearty laugh.
We invite you to share your tributes and memories of Fr. Lucey in the comments section below. Fr. Lucey’s life will be celebrated during a memorial Mass in St. Joseph’s Chapel at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL on Tuesday, October 12; visitation will be held from 9:30AM – 11:00AM CT, followed by a Mass at 11:00AM CT (click here for livestream). Later in the week, a prayer vigil will be held on Thursday, October 14 at 4:15PM CT at the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Milwaukee, followed the next day by a funeral Mass at Milwaukee’s Gesu Church on Friday, October 15 at 10:00 AM CT (click here for livestream).