Tim Townsend, writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that finding qualified Jesuits for university leadership is a challenge. The pool is rapidly shrinking.
Like many Catholic universities, St. Louis University, whose president is retiring, amended its bylaws sometime between 2006 and 2010 to eliminate the requirement that the University’s president be a member of the Society of Jesus.
Many colleges have not only eliminated the requirement that the president be a member of the religious order that founded the school, but have also eliminated the requirement that the president be a priest, monk, or religious sister. Over the past decade, the trend has led to more and more schools selecting lay presidents.
Reports Townsend, as of July 1, seven of the 28 schools in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities will have lay presidents. Among the 194 U.S. Catholic colleges that are members of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, 63 percent are led by lay people. That number was 30 percent in 1991.
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