Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. announced last Friday he will step down as president of Fairfield University in June.

Most students interviewed by The Mirror were indifferent to the news but thought that Kelley has done a good job as president.

“I think for the most part he’s done a good job at making sure the university is a place students can really enjoy,” said Ann Cavallaro ’06. “It’s a shame we don’t see him more, but I wish him a happy retirement and the best of luck in the future.”

“The president has done great things for the school,” said Mike Barry ’05. “Too bad I’ve only seen him in person twice.”

Sean Magarelli ’05 concurred. “Seeing how he’s the president and doesn’t have much contact with students, not that a university president should, but it makes me somewhat indifferent,” he said.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Paul J. Huston said Kelley will be missed. “Father was a wonderful president for the university, and he left big shoes for the board to fill,” he said.

Huston said the board wasn’t too surprised when they learned the news.

“With the knowledge that he was 75 years old and had been serving for 25 years, it was something that the board knew was coming,” Huston said. “The specific timing of it wasn’t known until recently, but in the big picture we were aware.”

In a press release last week, Huston indicated a committee made up of representatives Board of Trustees, faculty, students, administration, alumni and the Jesuit community would be named early this week to assist in the search for a Jesuit successor. As of press time, the committee had not been named, but readers can check on Thursday for the announcement.

Huston said that the board “absolutely” wants to replace Kelley with another Jesuit. Some Jesuit schools-such as Georgetown University-have looked to the laity recently when hiring new presidents.

“Implicit in the announcement made last Friday was the board’s understanding of how Fairfield’s Jesuit ideals differentiate the university as an academic institution,” said Huston. “We will be searching for a Jesuit president.”

Huston said he hopes that the board will make the announcement of a new president “by spring.”

Kelley was out of town on business throughout the week and unavailable for comment. He made his plans known to the board through a letter in which he said serving Fairfield and advancing Jesuit higher education has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

“I have given considerable thought during the past few years to the time of my departure from Fairfield,” he said. “I continue to believe that the end of the current academic year is the most appropriate time to retire, because it will mark both the successful conclusion of ‘Our Promise: The Campaign for Fairfield University’ and the completion of my 25th year as president.”

Other students reacted with a range of opinions about Kelley’s departure.

“Father Kelley did a real good job,” said Paul Kantera ’05. “People kind of knock him now after cutting the sports teams, but Kelley knew that the school longterm would benefit from his decision. That’s what I liked about him most, I knew he was going for the long range ideas.”

“I was lucky enough to meet Fr. Kelly about five times,” said Kerry Winterson ’04. “I know many people have not had that privilege but if they did, they would undoubtedly be impressed and in awe of his love for the school and his undying effort to make it the place it is today. I will be sorry to see him go.”

Others were less generous to Kelley.

“I think that we’re better off without APK,” said Jeremy Sawyer ’04. “And it sucks that he could make all these decisions like cutting football and hockey, and not have the courtesy to see it through. We’re the ones that have to live with it what he’s done.”

“It’s almost like he held himself above everyone else, or he didn’t want to blur the line between student and administrator, but he came off as an introvert who wasn’t that interested in the students,” Sawyer added.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who the president of our school was if you had a gun to my head,” said Mary Albertson ’06. “I guess I always had pictured a college president to be integral in a lot more things. He must have done a good job because I love it here and there aren’t that many things I could think of to change.

I guess now I realize that they are supposed to take a behind the scenes approach. I’m anxious to see who replaces him.”

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