Brother Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D., became La Salle University’s 28th president on July 1, 1999, and is now in his third term as President.
Under Br. Michael’s direction, the University developed a new strategic plan and significantly increased enrollment, giving, and alumni involvement in the life of the University. In addition, the University built and opened a new residence hall for 428 students and adjoining dining facility in 2005 and expanded the Bucks County Center in 2006. In cooperation with the Board of Trustees, Br. Michael launched Shoulder to Shoulder, a fundraising initiative with a $25 million goal for the construction of a new science and technology center and the strengthening of the endowment for student scholarships. Completed in 2007, this major gift initiative raised more than $28 million. At the same time, the University expanded its campus by approximately 30 acres with the purchase of the Germantown Hospital property and two adjoining lots.
In addition, in 2008 the University opened a Montgomery County Center and launched its latest strategic plan, The Will to Excel. In 2009, La Salle celebrated the openings of both The Shoppes at La Salle, the shopping center on campus, and the renovated and expanded Holroyd Hall, featuring the Hugh and Nancy Devlin Center for Science and Technology.
A native Philadelphian, Br. Michael joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1965 and graduated maxima cum laude from La Salle in 1970 with a degree in English. He obtained his master’s degree and Ph.D. in theology from the University of Notre Dame.
From 1970 to 1974, he was a member of the English and Religion departments at South Hills Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. While a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame, he taught undergraduate courses in the Theology Department and was assistant rector of Grace Hall.
His first teaching experience at La Salle was as a visiting instructor in the Graduate Religion Program in the summer of 1978. He was also an assistant professor at Washington Theological Union from 1979 to 1984. From 1986 to 1990, he was a visiting instructor at Loyola University’s Summer Institute of Pastoral Studies.
In 1984, Br. Michael joined the faculty at La Salle on a full-time basis, eventually reaching the rank of full professor in 1993. Recognized by the De La Salle Christian Brothers for his qualities as a leader, he attended La session internationale des études lasalliennes (a program of study of Lasallian spirituality) in Rome in 1991. He became Chair of La Salle’s Religion Department that year, and the following year he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Also in 1992, he was appointed Vice President of the La Salle University Corporation. In 1995, he became a member of La Salle’s Board of Trustees.
In 1994, he became President of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn. Under his leadership, undergraduate enrollment and retention rates were increased; a Graduate Education Program was established; the Athletic Department joined the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference; new residence halls were constructed; enhancements were made to science labs and facilities; the school’s engineering departments were re-accredited; an upgrade of information technology systems throughout the campus was implemented; and the Center for Global Enterprise was founded. He also played a key role in the school’s 125th anniversary celebration.
He has published articles in such journals as Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture and New Theology Review. He has written chapters in religious books and texts, including “The Catholic University as a Context for Pastoral Studies: Reflections on Three Programs” in Pastoral Studies in the University Setting (University of Ottawa Press). He edited six volumes of the Christian Brothers’ Spirituality Seminar Series. Since 1983, his reviews of books have appeared in journals such as Horizons, Theological Studies, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, and Holistic Nursing Practice. For many years, he has lectured to a variety of academic and professional groups on issues related to spirituality, pastoral care, and theology.
His academic areas of expertise are pastoral theology, history and theology of ministry, methods and models of theological reflection, ecclesiology, and Lasallian spirituality.
Br. Michael serves on the boards of the American University of Rome, Manhattan College, La Salle College High School, the Urban Affairs Coalition of Philadelphia, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Br. Michael is the North American Regional Director of the International Association of Lasallian Universities. In addition, he is a member of the District Council for the Christian Brothers District of Eastern North America.
His professional memberships include the Catholic Theological Society of America, the American Academy of Religion, the College Theology Society, the Lasallian Association of College and University Presidents, and the International Association of Lasallian Universities.
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