As a Californian transplanted to the Bronx and the new Vice President for Mission Integration and Planning, Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., replaces Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, J.D., J.C.L., the vice president for university mission and ministry in the office of Campus Ministry. Quinn left Fordham after serving six years, and is now returning to the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
McCarthy said that he is looking forward to integrate into the community.
“I’m excited about meeting the people and about the possibilities of trying to communicate the Jesuit message in very different kinds of communities,” he said.
McCarthy’s detailed his history in academia in an interview with The Fordham Ram. It includes a start at Stanford University, where he initially planned on pursuing law. Instead, he finished at Santa Clara University in California, went to Oxford University for four years, then Berkeley to finish his theology training and finally completed his doctorate at Notre Dame.
“As Fordham approaches its 175th anniversary, we hope to find ways for the Jesuit tradition to support not only the student experience, but also the academic mission of the university,” said Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “Hence we are changing the title of this particular position to vice president for Mission Integration and Planning.”
As vice president, McCarthy’s responsibility is to encourage academia through the Jesuit mission. “Most Jesuit universities have a person of somewhat high position in the administration whose job it is to really advance the Jesuit Catholic mission of the university,” said McCarthy. “The vice president is a person who is really dedicated to keeping his or her eye on how well we are we doing on that, and trying to help all parties who work in the university to see how their own natural worth can be enhanced by this philosophy that we have.”
McCarthy’s service at Santa Clara included the Thriving Neighbors Initiative, a program that they dedicated to serving the recent local immigrant community.
“My first initiative, really, is to meet people and listen to them,” he said. “I think relationships are very crucial. I don’t come with any set of initiatives, but I want to enter and learn as I can at this university.”
McCarthy thinks the initiative was mutually beneficial.
“We are these magnificent universities who can become more and more detached from the reality of the people we are living with, and so I felt that a good practice in community based learning was to deepen our partnerships with the recent immigrant community near Santa Clara with the intention that they teach us and we teach them,” he said.
In his vice presidency, McCarthy plans to emphasize communication and relationships, with people of various backgrounds and disciplines.
“I think it can be difficult at times for people to keep the bigger picture in mind, that we are here to serve a universal good,” McCarthy said. “I think that part of our job is to make that vision accessible and easy to understand for people with vastly different backgrounds, personal commitments and understanding. Communication is really the biggest thing I can do.”
Lastly, the native Californian said that his transition has been aided by warmer weather and his sports allegiances.
“I’m a San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors fan, but I have to admit, ever since I was little, I have been a Yankee fan.”