California calling: President of University of San Francisco
Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., ’80 returns to the West Coast this summer to become the new president of our sister Jesuit school in the Bay Area, the University of San Francisco. It’s a homecoming in more ways than one for Fr. Fitzgerald; he grew up in Los Gatos and has family here in the South Bay and Central Valley. For the past five years he’s served as vice president for academic affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut. At USF he takes the baton from Stephen A. Privett, S.J., M.Div. ’72, who has served as president since 2000.
|Photo by Barbara Ries
Ordained to the priesthood in 1992, Fr. Fitzgerald taught at SCU beginning in 1997 in the Department of Religious Studies and served as an associate dean and senior associate dean in SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in history from SCU, he earned a master’s of divinity from Weston School of Theology in 1991, a doctorate in the sociology of religion in 1997 from the University of Paris, and a pontifical doctorate in ecclesiology from the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1999. He also served as an adjunct lecturer at the Education College in Xiamen, China, and as a visiting lecturer at Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya.
He’s a fine cook. “I never met a national cuisine I didn’t appreciate,” he says. “Sharing a meal is an amazing opportunity to share life. It’s not for nothing that Jesus’ most important conversations took place over meals.”
And he loves teaching. “There is no more joyful place for me than being in the classroom. Watching the light go on in the eyes of a student as he or she ‘gets it’; seeing a student develop an argument logically, rationally, and with consistency and depth; that, finally, is what we are all about as a university.” Amen. Steven Boyd Saum
Here out west: a new provincial for the Jesuits
Scott Santarosa, S.J., ’88, M.Div. ’99 heads north from Los Angeles this summer to take on duties as the new provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. But he won’t be leaving California job responsibilities behind for long; as the Jesuits merge the California and Oregon provinces in the next couple years, he’ll become head of the new province—which also includes the states of Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii.
|Photo by Charles Barry
Fr. Santarosa was appointed to his new post in November 2013. He’s served on the boards of numerous Jesuit institutions, including SCU’s Board of Trustees. Since 2006, he has served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood, where he conducted much of his pastoral work in Spanish. Previously, he worked for five years at Verbum Dei High School in Watts, Los Angeles, helping restore the failing inner-city school. As the Los Angeles Times reported, the school was on the verge of closing in 2000; now a quality Catholic preparatory school for low-income students, it’s an institution where, for the past six straight years, 100 percent of graduating students were accepted to college.
And there’s this: When Fr. Santarosa was invited to give the opening prayer for the 2013–14 legislative session of the California State Assembly, he dedicated the prayer to his grandparents, “Pasquale and Grazie Santarosa, proud immigrants from Italy, and to all of our ancestors who built a life together in this Golden State.” He said, “Loving God, help us to be true to the vision of our ancestors, who sacrificed so that we could be here today, who faced unknown challenges and unseen dangers, but guided by a vision of a compassionate land waiting with open arms, who stepped forth onto this land to become fruit pickers and lumber workers who would dream of sending their children to college and who would see that dream realized.” Kristen Intlekofer