May 18, 2020 — The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has named Jesuit Father Michael J. Garanzini its next president.
Fr. Garanzini will begin his term on July 1, 2020, succeeding Jesuit Father Michael J. Sheeran, who has served as president of AJCU since April 2013. Fr. Sheeran will move to Saint Louis University this summer to serve in a pastoral role for faculty, students and alumni.
Fr. Garanzini currently serves as both secretary for the higher education of the Society of Jesus as well as chair of the board of directors for the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). He will complete his eighth year of service to that association while working at AJCU.
Prior to these roles, Fr. Garanzini was president of Loyola University Chicago from 2001 to 2015. During his 14 years at Loyola, he served on the AJCU board of directors, including a term as chair. Under his leadership, Loyola grew in national recognition as an innovator in higher education, thanks to the establishment of Arrupe College, the first Jesuit community college in the United States.
While serving as secretary for higher education, Fr. Garanzini led several initiatives to facilitate national and international collaboration among Jesuit institutions. In 2013, he hosted the first-ever meeting of Jesuit provincials, presidents and board chairs of U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities with former Superior General Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás at Loyola Chicago.
In 2016, Fr. Garanzini served as a delegate for General Congregation 36, a convening of Jesuits from across the world to elect a new Superior General and issue a new set of decrees for the Society of Jesus. In response to a call for increased networking at GC36, Fr. Garanzini organized a meeting at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, in 2018 to launch the International Association of Jesuit Universities.
Fr. Garanzini received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Saint Louis University and a doctorate in psychology and religion from the Graduate Theological Union/University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at the University of San Francisco, the Gregorian University in Rome, Rockhurst University and Fordham University. Additional academic appointments include four years as academic vice president at Saint Louis University and two years as special assistant to the president at Georgetown University. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1971 and was ordained as a priest in 1980.
“This is an incredible honor for me, and I’m really looking forward to working with the presidents and our institutions as president of AJCU,” Fr. Garanzini said. “This is a challenging time for all of us, and so the need to work together has never been more important. I know that I can count on our presidents to work closely and support each other, to ensure that Jesuit higher education continues to thrive for years to come.” [Source: Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities]