Father Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University since 2004, is leaving his position at the university, the university announced on Tuesday, July 19.

In a statement, von Arx said that he is “grateful to the Board for their confidence and support, and to the entire Fairfield community for the work we have done together to advance this University to the front ranks of Jesuit institutions of higher education. I believe Fairfield has a great future ahead of it.”

Von Arx announced on Aug. 1 that he has been appointed Superior of the LaFarge House Jesuit Community in Cambridge, Mass., and that he will be assuming his new role at the end of the calendar year.

According to Jenn Anderson, vice president of communications, “The LaFarge house will be comprised of mainly scholars and advanced doctoral students, with a corporate mission devoted to fostering the spiritual and moral formation of the neighboring academic communities, primarily the community at Harvard.”

Anderson spoke of von Arx’s next assignment to the CT Post, saying that “Father von Arx is very highly regarded by the board. It was always in Father’s long-term plans to think about his next endeavor at this time.”

She added that Father von Arx’s experience makes him well qualified for his new assignment.

“Father’s strong background as President of Fairfield for twelve years, a former Dean of Fordham College and as a professor at Georgetown provide him with the demonstrated academic and administrative credentials to engage with senior colleagues at a major university such as Harvard,” Anderson said.

The new president is expected to start by July 2017, according to university officials. The university will form a search committee to locate a new president that will be comprised of a small group of Fairfield University constituents, according to the CT Post.

Chairman of the university’s board of trustees Frank Carroll is confident that the University is at an ideal place to start the search for a new president, mostly because of “the leadership of our current president, Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx. He’s been terrific.”

Carroll added that von Arx helped increase the university’s endowment to $315 million. According to the CT Post, additionally, von Arx started Fairfield’s capital campaign Fairfield Rising, with the goal of reaching an endowment of $160 million by 2017, the university’s 75th anniversary.

In an e-mail sent out to students, parents and faculty on Aug. 1, von Arx reflected on his presidency at Fairfield. “When I arrived in 2004, we joined in a common work — to move Fairfield into the new century, with a focus on integrity in all that we did and with a commitment to re-creating and renewing the traditions of Jesuit education: the care of the whole person; the embrace of a global perspective as a learning community; and the pursuit of excellence in teaching and scholarship. We applied ourselves to these goals, and I think we can be proud of what we have accomplished in this regard,” von Arx stated.

The Mirror will continue to add to this story as more information is made available.

Photo contributed by news.fairfield.

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