Passing the Baton

Preparing for Collegium’s Next Phase of Leadership

Collegium has always been about preparing for the next generation of leadership in Catholic higher education.  After 28 years as the director of Collegium, it seems fitting for me to pass on the leadership baton at Collegium as well.  Over the last year, I’ve been talking about this with the Collegium Board, and we’ve developed a plan to move forward.

I’ve decided to time my own transition to coincide with Joyce Gawlik’s decision that she would retire just after the June 2022 summer colloquy, her 20th anniversary with Collegium. 

For my part, the decision to pass the baton is alternately difficult and easy.  It is difficult because I am always aware of how many wonderful friendships I’ve made through Collegium over the course of 28 years.  I regret the loss of the opportunity to keep building more such friendships and to engage in the sort of conversations that I’ve been privileged to have at Collegium.  If you experienced that interconnectedness at one Collegium colloquy, multiply that times 27 for me. Leading Collegium has been an extraordinary gift in my life. 

My own joy aside, it’s most important that Collegium has accomplished marvelous work over the years.  I’ve long been confident that our marvelous Board members, mentors and alumni/ae can carry on Collegium’s work without me at the helm.  The easy part about the transition is that I know what good hands Collegium will be in after I step back from it. I have no doubt that the search committee will find a successor who can sustain what’s best about Collegium and take the organization in any new directions that it may need to pursue.  This is an opportunity to breathe new energy into Collegium, and I’ve encouraged the Board to take full advantage of the opportunity.   

My priority in the next two years will be to continue to provide the best summer colloquy experiences possible, to continue to advance the Board’s strategic initiatives around advancing the role of STEM faculty and diversity and inclusion in Catholic higher education, and to make sure that Collegium is in the best possible condition when it is handed over to a successor. Joyce is committed to engaging in that work with me. 

The Collegium Board has designated a Search Committee to be led by my Holy Cross colleague Rob Bellin, a past Collegium Board Chair.  Rob writes about that process and introduces the committee elsewhere in this issue of Collegium News. He will likely be in touch with alumni in other ways as the search progresses.  I expect that the Board will announce a successor in about a year’s time, providing some overlap for planning and transition purposes. I’m grateful to all the members of the Search Committee for agreeing to take on this work and look forward to a process that really helps Collegium run the good race.