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Zag 77
12-26-2009, 09:18 PM
Quite by accident today I happened upon an unannounced documentary on KHQ TV in Spokane about Fr. Robert Spitzer narrated by Greg Heister. It reminds us how bad GU was looking in 1998 when he became President: declining enrollment, serious financial difficulty and a real sense that the school was in the doldrums as far as its future was concerned.

Spitzer was not the first or second or even third choice to become President. He was considered too young at 45 to be considered, and had no prior administrative credentials. Yet he convinced the search committee with his enthusiasm and plan to revitalize his alma mater.

He was smart enough to build on the success of basketball and realize it had a part to play in promoting the University. This is true even though many other schools have not been able to parlay athletic success into general financial and enrollment gains.

A couple of tidbits that came out:

-He promised the search committee that he would learn how to be a president from Fr. Sundborg at SU and the President (name escapes me) of Santa Clara. Thank God he never got around to that.

-70% of HS students making an on-campus visit to GU end up committing to attend.

-120,000 community service hours are contributed by GU students every year.

All this makes me once again upset that Fr. Whitney (former Provincial) and Fr. Lee (current Provincial) demanded that his term at GU come to an end, despite the pleading of the Board of Trustees otherwise.

I don't get it: he gets fired because he saved the school from financial ruin, greatly boosted enrollment, brought about new, first-class facilities for the school, re-vitlized its mission and at the same time has won national acclaim as a scholar and speaker in religion, business and ethics.

I don't get the logic of the Jesuit administration of the Oregon Province.

Finally, they STILL can't find a replacement, and have had to start over to find a decent candidate.

webspinnre
01-01-2010, 07:52 AM
The logic of the Province administration is very simple, really. They disagree with his theology. In addition to all of those financial things you mentioned, mass attendance and retreat attendance under Fr. Spitzer more than tripled, and a number of new faith related groups were started. Some of these put pressure on the Religious Studies department, among others, for their lack of respect for the teachings of the Church, and in some places outright disagreement or defiance of those teachings.