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Holy Cross names BC Law dean Rougeau first lay president


The College of the Holy Cross announced the appointment of Vincent D. Rougeau as its 33rd president Feb. 10. He is the first lay and first Black president in the history of the college. Photo courtesy/The College of the Holy Cross

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WORCESTER -- The College of the Holy Cross has named Vincent D. Rougeau its 33rd president, the first lay and first Black president in the history of the college. Rougeau is currently the Dean of the Boston College Law School. He was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees on Feb. 9 and was to be officially introduced to the Holy Cross community via a livestream on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Rougeau was chosen after a thorough nationwide search, and will assume the role on July 1. He will succeed Father Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, who announced in September that he would be leaving his post at the end of June, after a successful presidency spanning almost a decade.

"We are thrilled to welcome Vincent to the Holy Cross community, and look forward to his leadership in building on the College's success of the past decade." said Chairman of the Board of Trustees Richard Patterson.

"Vincent brings the strategic vision, deep experience as a faculty member and administrator, and commitment to liberal arts education that will allow him to lead Holy Cross in meeting the many challenges facing higher education today. Both his scholarship and his leadership demonstrate his profound dedication to Catholic social teaching and to educating students toward seeking justice and making a meaningful difference in our world," Patterson said.

Rougeau has been dean of the Boston College Law School since 2011. During his tenure, he has led a reorganization in leadership structure to support a more holistic approach to student services, expand the school's national and international recruitment of a diverse student body, and enhance the school's commitment to experiential learning and global engagement. He was recently named the inaugural director of the new Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America, a meeting place for listening, dialogue, and greater understanding about race and racism in our country.

Prior to his role at Boston College, Rougeau was a tenured professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, and served as their associate dean for Academic Affairs from 1999-2002.

Rougeau writes and speaks extensively on legal education reform. He was recently named president-elect of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of AALS, and on the Council of the Boston Bar Association. He has also served as chair of the AALS Deans Steering Committee.

Rougeau is a national expert in Catholic social thought. His book "Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order" was released by Oxford University Press in 2008. His current research and writing consider the relationships among religious identity, citizenship, and membership in highly mobile and increasingly multicultural democratic societies. He serves as senior fellow at the Centre for Theology and Community (CTC) in London, where he researches broad-based community organizing, immigration, and citizenship in the UK as part of the Just Communities Project.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Holy Cross community as its new president," said Rougeau. "I have long admired the College for its academic excellence, its talented students and accomplished alumni, its dedicated faculty and staff and its unique place as our nation's only Jesuit, Catholic liberal arts college. Our current moment in history cries out for the mission-driven education that Holy Cross provides, and I am very excited about what this community can accomplish in the years ahead."

A robust national search process was led by a nine-member Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Holy Cross Trustee Thomas P. Joyce, former president and CEO of Danaher Corporation. The process -- assisted by search consultant firm Isaacson, Miller -- included listening sessions with students, faculty, staff and alumni of the College, the development of a detailed presidential profile and a thorough interview process that featured a diverse group of impressive candidates.

Father Joseph M. O'Keefe, SJ, Provincial of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, said, "During our time together at Boston College, I discovered that Vincent Rougeau has a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the Jesuit, Catholic vision of higher education. Moreover, he has the leadership skills to make that vision a reality. I am delighted to welcome Vince and his wife Robin to our Holy Cross family."

Rougeau earned his Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Brown University and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he served as articles editor of the "Harvard Human Rights Journal." He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and currently serves on the American Law Institute Project on Sexual Misconduct and the Brigham Young University Law School Visitors Board. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Vince and his wife Dr. Robin Kornegay-Rougeau, a pediatrician, have three sons.

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