Watson, Griffin Take New Leadership Roles

Watson, Griffin Take New Leadership Roles

Holy Cross College is proud to announce that Justin Watson, Ph.D., previously vice president for academic affairs, has been appointed provost of the college, and Michael Griffin, Ph.D., tenured professor of theology, has been appointed senior vice president.

As provost, Watson will maintain his role as chief academic officer of the college and advise the interim president on major policy matters internal and external to the college.

“For 22 years, Justin has been our bedrock of teaching and learning,” says Father David Tyson, C.S.C., interim president of Holy Cross College. “As provost, he will continue to be an example of selfless service to the college community.”

Watson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada and his master’s degrees in English and rhetoric from Eastern Washington University. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame, where his dissertation advisor was Joseph Buttigieg, father of Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Prior to joining Holy Cross College in 1995, Watson taught adult learners at community colleges in Washington. He also served as the book review editor of the scholarly journal Religion and Literature for five years and worked for 11 years with first-year international MBA students in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Among his many other accomplishments at Holy Cross College, Watson directed its first BA program, became the Dean of Faculty in 2007, and vice president for academic affairs in 2013. When the college joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Watson served as the first Faculty Athletics Representative.

“The Brothers of Holy Cross have taught me to focus everything on student success,” says Watson. “I am looking forward to working with the new college leadership to guide all our academic endeavors toward that goal.”

Justin and his wife Carlotta, residents of Granger, IN, have been married for 29 years and raised three children—Samantha, James, and Patrick.

As senior vice president, Griffin will oversee College Relations and the teams that work in student formation, including admissions, as well as advise the interim president on major policy matters internal and external to the college.

“Mike has been deeply involved with every aspect of the college mission since he began here, and he will continue that focus in his new role,” says Father Tyson. “With his deep understanding of education and the Congregation of Holy Cross charism, he will assist me in ensuring that the Holy Cross mission is present in every aspect of the college’s future plans.”

Griffin brings 13 years of experience and leadership to his new position at Holy Cross. After he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1993, Griffin worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops before returning to the South Bend area. He began working at Holy Cross in 2004, and received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in 2014. A published author, Griffin has been the chair of the theology department at Holy Cross College since 2015.

“From the earliest days of the college, our mission has been formed by strong relationships—among faculty and students, with our partners at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, and with the South Bend community,” says Griffin. “I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to further strengthen these connections at this unique moment in the history of Holy Cross College.”

Outside of Holy Cross College, Griffin is actively involved in his local community. A member of the school board for Holy Cross Grade School, he helped to initiate the school’s new dual language immersion program, which led to its largest enrollment increase in the last decade. He and his wife Catherine are co-founders of The Local Cup, a coffee shop in South Bend’s Near Northwest Neighborhood that recently received national attention for its community-focused business model.