President Vincent Rougeau during his inauguration speech. Photo by Matt Wright
Students applaud as the procession makes its way to the Hart Center at the Lute Athletic Complex. Photo by Matt Wright
President Vincent Rougeau receiving the Mace from the hands of President Emeritus, Reverend Philip L. Boroughs, SJ Photo by Matt Wright
President Vincent Rougeau with his wife Dr Robin Kornegay-Rougeau. Photo by Matt Wright
Vincent D. Rougeau was installed as the 33rd President of the College of the Holy Cross – the first lay president and first black to lead the 178-year-old institution – in a ceremony punctuated with inspiring words and feelings of excitement and d ‘hope.
The installation, held at the Hart Center at the Lute Athletic Complex, put the ceremonial seal on a term that began on July 1 when Rougeau succeeded his predecessor, the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, who was also present.
A nationally respected expert in legal education and Catholic social thought, Rougeau was dean of Boston College Law School and inaugural director of the new Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America, prior to his arrival at Holy Cross. He is currently President of the Association of American Law Schools.
In his inaugural address, Rougeau spoke about the challenges ahead for higher education and stressed the importance of ensuring that higher education is a place where people from all walks of life can participate in the pursuit of social justice. .
“This is our enduring mission, guided by our Catholic faith and reflecting the changing times,” said Rougeau. “This is a time of opportunity, daring hope and belief in the transformative power of education. It is a day when a black layman from the south can lead a Jesuit college in New England.
Rougeau, accompanied by his family, including his mother Shirley, his father Weldon and his stepmother Shirley, his wife Robin Kornegay-Rougeau, MD, three sons, Christian, Alex and Vincent Jr. (“VJ”), shared his bold vision for the College, a vision rooted in the enduring values of Jesuit, Catholic and liberal arts education.
“Through a dynamic expression of today’s Jesuit mission, we will lead Holy Cross to realize its full potential as one of the best liberal arts institutions in the world,” said Rougeau. “At Holy Cross, we accept that our world is knotty and imperfect. We believe that the best preparation for the challenges of the 21st century is a broad liberal education rooted in discovery and amplified by our Catholic intellectual traditions.
Members of the communities of Holy Cross and Worcester, including representatives from colleges and universities across the country, attended the event; the Rev. Joseph M. O’Keefe, SJ, Provincial of the Eastern Province of the USA of the Society of Jesus; the mayor of Worcester, Joseph Petty; and Most Reverend Robert Joseph McManus, STD, Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, among others.
Richard H. Patterson ’80, Chairman of the Board, shared his approval and enthusiasm for Vincent Rougeau as the new leader of the College.
“We are fortunate to have a leader who has the skills, the talent and the moral compass to meet the challenges ahead,” said Patterson. “With Vince Rougeau, we have a leader whose intimate knowledge of higher education, whose faith and commitment to Catholic social education…”
The inaugural festivities included a faculty symposium on Thursday, October 21 titled “Global Engagement and Democratic Citizenship” with an opening speech by Martha Minow, human rights expert, lawyer and former dean of the law school from Harvard; a special concert with renowned jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on the same day; and an inaugural mass on Friday, October 22 at the chapel of Saint-Joseph de Sainte-Croix.
To see more photos and videos of the inauguration events and read Rougeau’s remarks, visit our inaugural website.