Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Priest, historian to lead Xavier

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Rev. Michael J. Graham takes over Dec. 31.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J., a familiar figure on the Xavier University campus, has been promoted to president.

        “I'm a priest and I'm a teacher,” the 47-year-old historian said on Monday. “My gifts and experience intersect with Xavier Universi ty at this particular moment.”

        He's also a fine scholar and a “very impressive administrator,” theology professor Paul Knitter said. “I feel better about Xavier's future seeing him at the helm.”

        Father Graham succeeds the Rev. James Hoff, S.J., who came to XU in 1991. Father Hoff began grooming Father Graham as his successor, naming him vice president for university relations — and chief fund-raiser — in 1994 and executive assistant to the president in 1999.

        The choice for the Jesuit school's 34th president was confirmed by XU trustees and the head of the Jesuits' Chicago province and announced on Monday.

        It has been three months since Father Hoff announced he would leave on May 31, 2001. The search and choice went so quickly that he departs Dec. 31.

        “A lame duck president is not good for me or for Xavier,” he said.

        Meanwhile, Father Graham will prepare for succession on Jan. 1 by taking a sabbatical during which he will complete his Jesuit training, vacation, spend time with his family and “do a lot of reading about issues of Jesuit-Catholic higher education.”

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