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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.

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.