Canadian University President Named as SHU’s Visiting Senior Executive in Residence

News Story: November 28, 2009

Michael Higgins, Ph.D.Sacred Heart University President Anthony J. Cernera, Ph.D., has named Dr. Michael W. Higgins a Visiting Senior Executive in Residence for the spring term. He will take up his duties on January 4, 2010, and remain until June 30. A writer, scholar, media personality and senior academic administrator, he is the immediate past president (effective midnight Dec. 31, 2009) and vice-chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and was formerly the president of St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario.

As the Visiting Senior Executive in Residence, Dr. Higgins will assist SHU’s president, Dr. Anthony J. Cernera, with program management in relation to the Catholic intellectual tradition and with a number of strategic initiatives. He will teach and lecture, and will help organize and assist with the completion of a book on the Catholic intellectual tradition, among numerous other responsibilities.

Dr. Cernera called the appointment a “rare opportunity to enlist the talents of one of Canada’s most respected Catholic educators. Dr. Higgins is a scholar who will bring to this position extensive experience as both a teacher and a college administrator, and he shares Sacred Heart’s embrace of the Catholic intellectual tradition. We are fortunate that he can be with us for the coming semester, and we look forward to his working closely with our students and the members of our faculty.” SHU bestowed on him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2008.

His numerous books and articles include Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton; The Muted Voice: Religion and the Media; and Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-Making. He has been a columnist, a CBC radio documentary maker, a television commentator on Vatican affairs, and a regular contributor to Commonweal magazine. He was, as well, the chief advisor for the widely acclaimed TV series, Sir Peter Ustinov’s Inside the Vatican. He was recently named the official biographer of Henri Nouwen.

A distinguished educator, he has chaired the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada, served on the board, ex officio, of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington, and is a board member of the International Federation of Catholic Colleges and Universities.