August 22, 2018

Dear members of the John Carroll University community,

On behalf of University leadership, I welcome all faculty, staff, and students back for the 2018-19 academic year. Jill and I look forward to meeting you during our walks around campus, at upcoming events, and throughout a busy fall sports schedule.

This is a great time to be a Blue Streak, and an exciting time in the history of our University.

In May, we announced a $10 million transformational gift to establish the John M. and Mary Jo Boler College of Business. The “Inspired Lives Campaign” for the new Boler College has resulted in $5 million in additional gifts from members of the JCU Board of Directors. In the College of Arts & Sciences, the National Science Foundation awarded us with a $640,000 grant to recruit, retain, and provide scholarship support for STEM students. And our athletic teams look to build off 10 conference championships and a fourth consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy – congratulations and good luck to all of our student-athletes!

The Class of 2022 is the largest freshman class since 2003, and our financial picture continues to improve. The recent upgrading of our bond rating by Moody’s reflects the hard work of all units on campus, our strong brand as a Jesuit Catholic University, and improved operating performance.

Working with multiple units on campus, we have launched, conducted, and completed national searches for key leadership positions:

  • Stephanie Levenson is joining our community as vice president for enrollment management. Stephanie has more than 20 years of experience in enrollment management, most recently as executive director of admissions at Elmhurst College, and before that as senior assistant director of admissions at Loyola University Chicago.
  • Eric Butler joins us as the University’s new Title IX coordinator. Eric previously served as the Title IX coordinator and interim director of equal opportunity at the University of Denver.
  • We are also working with Isaacson, Miller on a national search for a new provost and academic vice president. This search is being chaired by Emily Butler, Ph.D., of the department of English.

We thank Sherri Crahen, Ph.D., associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, for serving as our interim Title IX coordinator over the summer, and Jim Krukones, Ph.D., who is serving as our interim academic vice president while continuing his duties as associate provost.

The summer was a great orientation for me, personally. After arriving on campus on May 1, and before moving into the President’s Office on June 1, I spent my first month in Rodman Hall. This allowed me to meet with alumni and donors, including a visit with the Boler family in Chicago, and a number of our students, staff, and faculty.

The month of June included another trip to Chicago, this time to visit with Rev. Brian Paulson, S.J., provincial of the Midwest Province, and Rev. Dan McDonald, S.J., provincial assistant for higher education of the Midwest Province. This was followed by a trip to Bilbao, Spain, in early July with Vice President for Mission and Identity Ed Peck, Ph.D., for the Deusto Assembly 2018 meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). The trip not only allowed me to get to know the presidents of the other American Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), but I was able to spend quality time with JCU President Emeritus Rev. Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.Over his 12 years as President, Fr. Niehoff was an advocate for social justice through service learning and is very proud of all that we have accomplished. JCU students, working with Sister Katherine Feely’s team in our Center for Service & Social Action (CSSA), put in more than 138,000 community service hours this past year, which is truly amazing. My IAJU trip included a day in Loyola to visit the birthplace of St. Ignatius, and meetings with Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., father general of the Society of Jesus.

My travels then took me to Loyola University of Chicago’s retreat house in Woodstock, Illinois, to participate in the 11th Cohort of the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP). I was joined in Cohort 11 by John M. Boler Endowed Dean Al Miciak, Ph.D., and JCU alums Terri ’78 and George ’78 Lewandowski. The ICP is a national program designed to educate and form administrators and faculty more deeply in the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of higher education.

Now, I am back on campus and look forward to a busy and exciting year ahead. As we continue to implement the University’s strategic plan for 2015-2020, Promise and Prominence, we will be busy working with multiple stakeholders on and off campus on our strategic plan for 2020-2025. Jill and I hope to see you at Presidential Inauguration events on September 6, which include the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 9 a.m. in the Church of the Gesu, and the inauguration ceremony at 11 a.m. on Hamlin Quad.

Best wishes,

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.