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Holy Cross Presidents

A legacy of leaders

Since our founding in 1966, Holy Cross has had seven presidents. Each faced challenges unique to their era—all have shaped Holy Cross College into the thriving institution it is today.

On July 31, 2017, the Member Corporation of the Brothers of Holy Cross unanimously voted to appoint Father David Tyson, C.S.C., president of the college for a term of five years. Father Tyson brings a life-long association with the Congregation of Holy Cross and a commitment to higher education in the Holy Cross tradition. He has served as a trustee of the college since 2014 and was named interim president of the college by the Board of Trustees in April 2017. Father Tyson has spent his professional career striving to fulfill the vision of a university as articulated by St. John Henry Newman within the complexity of higher education today and the challenges it must engage. 

Born and raised in Gary, IN, Father Tyson is a 1970 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He received a Master of Theology degree from Notre Dame in 1974 and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1980. Father Tyson took his final vows in 1974 and was ordained at Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame in 1975. 

Father Tyson served at the University of Notre Dame in a variety of positions on the staff and faculty during the 1970s and 80s. He joined the faculty after completing graduate studies, where he served as an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Management. During that decade he also served as executive assistant to the university president, Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., and as vice president for Student Affairs. 

In 1990, Father Tyson was elected president of the University of Portland. During his 13 years there, Father Tyson oversaw a major campus expansion, a tripling of its endowment, and improvement of the University’s regional and national standing. 

In 2003, he was elected the provincial superior of what was then called the Indiana Province of Holy Cross, the largest Holy Cross province in the world. During his nine-year tenure, Father Tyson choreographed the reincorporation of the Southern Province into the Indiana Province. In 2009, he began a process which led to the merger of the Eastern Province into the Indiana Province. That process was completed in 2011 with the title of the province being changed to the United States Province with over 500 members serving on three continents. He led the US Province until the end of his term in 2012. 

In 2014, the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame named Father Tyson the St. André Bessette Director of Nonprofit Professional Development. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Notre Dame for his contributions to the university, the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Catholic higher education. The University of Portland awarded Father Tyson its highest accolade, the Christus Magister Medal, for outstanding service to the University and Catholic higher education in the U.S. 

He’s served on a variety of different boards, including the Holy Cross College Board of Trustees, the University of Notre Dame Board of Fellows and Board of Trustees, the Air Force Board of Visitors of Air University. He’s also received the highest civilian award, the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, from the Department of the Army in providing guidance and support for military education in the context of a university. 

Brother John is a 1968 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in physics. He received an M.A.L.S. in mathematics from Wesleyan University in 1976, an M.A. in applied theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California in 1983, and the Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1998.

Brother John made his perpetual profession with the Congregation of Holy Cross, Society of Brothers, Eastern Brothers Province U.S.A. in 1970.

Brother John began his career as an educator at Holy Cross High School, Waterbury, CT, in 1968. In 1972, he relocated to Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT, where he taught until becoming principal and chief executive officer in 1975. From 1997 to 1999, Brother Paige was a research associate at the Makerre Institute of Social Research, Makerre University, Kampala, Uganda, and was a visiting professor of social science at Queen of Apostles Philosophy Centre in Jinja, Uganda, from 1998 to 1999.

He became a member of the formation faculty at the Holy Cross Novitiate in Valatie, New York, in 1982, and was selected as Director of Novices in 1983. Brother John was also a member of the formation for ministry faculty for the Diocese of Albany, NY, from 1982 to 1989. He was appointed to the faculty and was named president and chief executive officer at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, MD, in 1989. The recipient of awards in Connecticut and Maryland, Brother John was a director of the National Association of Religious Brothers from 1989 to 1994, and served as its president from 1990 to 1994. He is the author of Preserving Order Amid Chaos: The Survival of Schools in Uganda, 1971 – 1986 (2000).

Brother Paige served as director and supervisor of Secondary Education Teacher Preparation at St. Edward’s University, and in 2001 he became an associate professor of education and dean of the School of Education at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. In 2004, Brother John was elected and served as Vicar and First General Assistant of the Congregation of Holy Cross at the Congregation’s General Chapter in Rome, Italy, until he was selected to become president of Holy Cross.

A native of Lakewood, OH, Brother Richard graduated summa cum laude as class valedictorian from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, where he earned a B.S. in mathematics and physics in 1965. He attended Harvard Graduate School of Education on a National Science Foundation fellowship, receiving the M.A.T. degree in 1966. He was an instructor in pure and applied mathematics and physics at St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast, Ghana, until 1974, after which he began a 17-year period of distinguished service at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, OH, serving the last six years as president and principal.

Brother Richard also studied at St. Louis University (1971), the University of Akron (1974-75, 1980), Georgetown University (1976), and was a member of the Woodrow Wilson Institute at Princeton University, where he studied in 1985. He received a doctorate in higher educational administration from the University of Dayton.

Under his leadership, Holy Cross College became a four-year college, offering baccalaureate degrees in nine majors. Brother Richard oversaw the construction of the Vincent Academic Center with 17 new classrooms and labs, and the Millennium Arch and Hardesty Plaza.

Brother Richard led the development of a residential life program, remodeling two buildings as student dormitories and building two new residence halls. He initiated the office of Campus Ministry and started the International Experience program that encourages students to travel to one of four countries served by the Congregation of Holy Cross—Ghana, Peru, Mexico, or India—to broaden students’ cultural perspectives. He also spearheaded the development and completion of the Pfeil Recreation and Student Center.

During his tenure he received many honors, including the Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa from Saint Mary’s College.

Brother Richard passed away September 24, 2017.

He has a B.S. from the University Notre Dame, 1948, an M.A. from the University Texas, 1951, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Galveston, 1954.

Brother Raphael began his career as a professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, and moved to the South Bend area to teach at the University of Notre Dame in 1959. He moved back to Texas to be a professor of experimental biology at Baylor College of Medicine in 1970.

In 1979, he was made president of the University of Portland, where he served until 1981. He taught at a number of colleges and universities before coming to Holy Cross in 1990.

Along with Brother John Driscoll, Brother James Leik helped found Holy Cross Junior College in 1966. The two men agreed that Br. Driscoll would manage the academic side of the school and Br. James would manage the facilities and the money, and to be fair, they would both teach classes.

Over the next 21 years, Br. James and Br. John managed Holy Cross Junior College simply and efficiently, much the way they began it. True to the Brothers’ mission to “make a difference in the world by being present and available,” Brother James took on whatever job needed him. He has been professor, bookstore manager, director of financial aid, corporate treasurer, and director of institutional advancement. He was even, reluctantly, acting president, but only until a replacement could be found.

Even after retiring from teaching, Brother James has stayed on at Holy Cross as full-time archivist, making a record of Holy Cross’s history. He is currently working on digitizing the school’s myriad photos, statements, reports, and historical documents.

The Brothers of Holy Cross selected Br. John Driscoll to be the College’s first president. Brother John was a shrewd administrator and devoted to the College. His firm standards and strong work ethic were balanced by his sensitivity to student needs. He was a man of deep Catholic faith, expressed not only in the college goals, but in his appreciation of each student. Although he wasn’t comfortable as a religious speaker, his spirituality was evident in everything he did, from teaching to organizing to being present every day.

Being accessible and down-to-earth were key aspects of Br. John’s leadership. He knew all the students by their names, backgrounds, and academic records, and he spent hours every day standing in the same spot in the student lounge, surrounded by studying students. Br. John kept a summer vegetable garden behind the student lounge, from which he would talk to passersby. He practically lived at the College, and he lived the philosophy of the College he had shaped.

The College continues to keep the philosophy of education that Brother John demonstrated day by day: put students first, keep classes small, and have faculty available to students when students need them. Br. John started Holy Cross College with a vision of community in mind, and it remains committed to his educational ideals many years and many new buildings later.

Brother John Driscoll passed away June 23, 1987.