Father McShane Announces his Departure from Fordham in June


(Courtesy of Twitter)

Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, ​​announced in an email to the Fordham community on Sept. 2 that after 19 years he will be stepping down from this position at the end of the academic year. 


“It’s time to step aside and allow someone else to have the great joy of leading Fordham into the future,” McShane wrote in his official statement. 


In an email sent out to the Fordham community on Friday, Sept. 3, Robert Daleo, the chair of Fordham’s Board of Trustees, announced that the university had hired executive search firm WittKieffer “to assist the University in a national search for the next president of Fordham.”


Daleo said the firm’s consultants, Robin Mamlet and Jean Dowdall, would hold a series of virtual town halls for students, faculty and staff to provide input and ask questions about the search process. The first of these meetings was held on Monday, Sept. 13 via Zoom for Fordham students. 


Daleo also said the university would also form a search committee composed of trustees, faculty, staff and students. 


“The Board expects the search committee to identify its leading candidates by the end of 2021, and the Board will announce the new president of the University in the spring of the new year,” wrote Daleo. “The Board and search committee look forward to this process and receiving input from you about the search for Fordham’s 33rd president.” 


In his email, Daleo outlined the Board of Trustees’ hopes for the next president of the university. “Through this process, we will seek strong, collaborative candidates with experience heading dynamic institutions to lead Fordham into the future,” wrote Daleo. “Among the firm’s and search committee’s charges is to uphold a firm commitment to the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and character. Any successful candidate must thoroughly understand and firmly embrace that mission as central to the University’s identity and operation.”


Father Thomas J. Regan, the Superior of the Jesuit community at Fordham who has served as part of the Board of Trustees for almost nine years, spoke fondly of the departing university president. Regan said he has attended a number of diploma ceremonies for graduating seniors and said McShane “just knows everybody by name” and “knows more about [your] hometown than you do.” 


“It’s almost like he tries to make everyone feel like they are the most important person in the world,” said Regan. 


Regan also complimented McShane for his efforts to bring Fordham through the continued COVID-19 pandemic, especially for retaining all employees during lockdown, “down to the cafeteria workers and the people who cut the grass.”


Donna Rapaccioli, Dean of the Gabelli School of Business, also expressed gratitude and respect for McShane, who she felt did not have an interest in “balancing the budget at the expense of anyone in the community.”  


“Father McShane has led Fordham with empathy and a drive for excellence, from his decision a few years back to welcome students from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina to the recent care for our community during the pandemic,” said Rapaccioli. “His leadership has allowed Fordham to thrive and improve across the spectrum in extremely difficult times.”


Christopher Rodgers, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, said, “We have relied since 2003 on Father McShane’s inspiring ability to explain our mission as a University in the Jesuit tradition to generations of students as well as fellow professionals in student life. Those of us who have heard him speak at orientation, at commencement… have always learned something and been motivated in our strategic and daily work by his words.”


McShane will remain in his position as president of the university until the end of the spring semester in 2022.