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Apr 09, 2014 11:41 AM EDT

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald Appointed New USF President

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Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, 56-year-old academic affairs vice president at Fairfield University, has been appointed new president of University of San Francisco, effective Aug.1. Fitzgerald succeeds Rev. Stephen A. Privett, who guided the 159-year-old Catholic university for 14 years.

"He brings impressive experience in connecting with the business community, in fundraising, and in strategic planning. He has a sound working knowledge of the mechanics of higher education and the use of technology to complement the transformative one-on-one interaction between faculty and students," Chuck Smith, the board's vice chairman, said in a statement.

At Fairfield, Fr. Fitzgerald was responsible for recruitments, retention of faculty, curriculum preparation, and co-ordination of academic programs. He also served as associate dean and senior associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at his alma mater, University of Santa Clara. Fr. Fitzgerald was also part of boards of trustees at Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. During summers of 1992 and 2004, he was a visiting lecturer in China and Kenya respectively.

As the school's 28th president, Fr. Fitzgerald hopes to explore important ethical questions and help spark conversations between people with great differences, Mercury News reports.

"For a long time, I've had my eye on USF, as a school I really like and respect. My entire presidency will be characterized by listening and learning and to learn about the hopes, dreams, and expectations of USF's students, faculty, and staff, and its alumni and donors," Fr. Fitzgerald said.

Fr. Fitzgerald also hopes to practise budgetary restraint and fiscal discipline; introduce new degree programs for new industries and evolving population and expand the endowment. A larger endowment will reduce college costs, eventually helping in increasing the enrolments at USF.

A 1980 history graduate of Santa Clara University, Fr. Fitzgerald holds a D.E.A. (diplôme des études approfondies) and a Docteur ès Lettres (PhD) in the Sociology of Religion at the University of Paris - La Sorbonne and an S.T.D. (Pontifical Doctorate) in ecclesiology from the Institut Catholique de Paris.

"Fr. Fitzgerald's true global perspective and academic rigor will certainly engage Bay Area technology leaders and entrepreneurs," said Claudio M. Chiuchiarelli '79, trustee chair emeritus.

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