Category Archives: News

Fr. Fitzgerald speaking at an event at the Chinese Consulate in New York City honoring extraordinary Chinese graduate students in the region’s universities. Photo courtesy of  Paul J. Fitzgerald

USF Welcomes New President Father Fitz

The presidential search ended last week with the Board of Trustees voting unanimously to elect the Reverend Paul J. Fitzgerald S.J. as the 28th president of the University of San Francisco. Fr. Fitzgerald will officially take office on August 1.

“When I received word I was selected as president, I was absolutely elated,” Fitzgerald said. “USF has an impressive legacy. The chance to contribute to this environment of learning and service is a true honor.”

Fitzgerald is due back to the Bay Area in August. Courtesy of Barbara Ries.

Fitzgerald is due back to the Bay Area in August. Courtesy of Barbara Ries.

This role will bring Fitzgerald back to the Bay Area. He grew up in Los Gatos, Calif. after his family moved from Southern California when he was five. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1980 (“that other Jesuit school,” he joked) and entered the Society of Jesus two years later. Fr. Fitzgerald was ordained to the priesthood at St. Ignatius Church on the USF campus in 1992. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Fitzgerald also has a wealth of international experience; he attended the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, where he earned a postgraduate degree and PhD in the Sociology of Religion and he taught as a visiting lecturer in China and Kenya. He is fluent in French, German, and conversational in Spanish.

“We believe Fitzgerald is ideally suited to work with the entire USF community in delivering a Jesuit education to the next generations of USF students,” said Thomas E. Malloy, chair of the USF Board of Trustees. “He has a strong commitment to diversity, brings a global perspective, and is an enthusiastic supporter of intercollegiate athletics. He is excited about leading San Francisco’s first university and expanding our partnerships with the community.”

Fr. Fitzgerald married three couples at Santa Clara University this year. Here he is (second from the right) celebrating the wedding of Becky and Bobby Reuter, SCU ‘05. Courtesy of  Paul J. Fitzgerald.

Fr. Fitzgerald married three couples at Santa Clara University this year. Here he is (second from the right) celebrating the wedding of Becky and Bobby Reuter, SCU ‘05. Courtesy of Paul J. Fitzgerald.

Fr. Fitzgerald talks to the Foghorn in an exclusive interview

On coming back to USF and California

“I want to be back at USF because that [diversity] to me is normal, and I just feel joy in a place where everyone feels welcome. USF should look like the Bay Area.”

“In San Francisco you can eat the food from the world, and you can do that in New York City as well, but in New York there’s snow.”


On his campus presence 

“I want to have structured conversations, and I want to meet constituencies and groups of students, but I also want to give myself opportunities to go and have lunch in one of the student dining commons, and sit at a random table and talk to people. I want to do that with faculty. I want to do that with staff.”

On Pope Francis

“I love the new pope, I love the new pope. He is just so genuine, so warm, so loving, non judgmental; you know, he’s like Jesus. He’s challenging, and he is going to be challenging because he’s going to ask people to lead lives of virtue, generosity, kindness, charity, diversity — and those are not alway easy.”


On the San Francisco Chronicle calling him “tech-savvy”

“That’s nice of them. I don’t have any degrees; my degrees are in history and philosophy and theology, and sociology. What some of our conversations were on is what’s going on in San Francisco right now, which is that Silicon Valley is moving into the city. I think the students at USF will go into the tech industry, whether as an engineer, marketer or technical writer, so I think we want to pay really close attention to what are the jobs students are preparing for and what are the jobs our students want when they graduate.”


On technology and morals

“We need to talk together about what technology can do for us, but we also have to be attentive to what technology can do to us. When undergraduate students arrive, they’re pretty comfortable using technology. Is it really keeping them connected to people or is it keeping their relationships kind of  superficial?”


On how USF can lead the conversation on tech and morals

“Some people arrive having had the experience of cyber bullying so how do we have conversations around being kind and being caring in a digital format? If we can be a place where people from different religious traditions have deep conversations, maybe we can help folks in the city do that, as well.”


On student media

“I promise I will never ever ever censor the newspaper. Student media is educational; students are learning how to be journalists; but also they serve a really important function of building community and that also involves presenting difficult questions and brokering difficult conversations.”


On interacting with outside community

“Jesuits have always, for 450 years, thought of our schools as a place where we educate our students, but also a place where we engage the larger community; and sometimes we do it through our students. USF wants to be, and is, and should be more and more, a university for San Francisco, not of San Francisco. We can help the city think of ethical questions about inclusivity and respect. We can have the city ask itself “what are the values of this community that we’re willing to stand up for?”


On his morning routine

“I do yoga. I sit for 25 mins or so, say my prayer. I do these yoga poses: salute to the sun, the cat. There’s a lot of them. I get cleaned up and have breakfast and get the paper and eat with other Jesuits and we chat a little bit.”


On what newspapers he will be reading at USF

“The Foghorn! The [San Francisco] Chronicle, and I hope we get the New York Times and Le Monde.”


On speaking many languages

“We get students from all over the world, and we want to send students all over the world, and we want students to have a sense of global citizenship.”




On Patrol

Staff writer Joe Isaac joins ROTC for a weekend of field training

    “You can’t make an officer in 60 days,” USF Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Executive Officer Major Dodge told me on the van ride to camp. I could only appreciate the truth in the Major’s sentiment two days later when I witnessed a military transport helicopter landing twenty meters ahead of me to simulate the evacuation of the lone casualty of the morning’s action: a cadet I had headshot with my paintball marker just minutes earlier.

Captain Romero shields a fallen cadet from debris. Photo by Joe Isaac/ Foghorn.

Captain Romero shields a fallen cadet from debris. Photo by Joe Isaac/ Foghorn.

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Between the Lines: USF Hosts Writers Festival

Up-and-coming writers gathered to read from selected events at the University’s Emerging Writers’ Festival last week. The two-day event on April 8 took place in Fromm Hall. The festival was sponsored by the English Department and co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Studies and African American Studies Programs.

Ryan William Van Meter, Assistant Professor of English at USF as well as one of the main figures in charge of the festival, described the festival’s main focus as “celebrating the pleasure of reading and writing as an active member in a literary community while being inspired by fellow artists”. The festival began with three readings from distinguished authors Adam Peterson, Roger Reeves, and Michelle Orange. Peterson, a published author of flash fiction, commenced the event with shorter pieces he had written. His quirky delivery and side commentary resulted in laughs from the crowd and they only continued throughout his comical readings.

Next up, Roger Reeves, published poet and assistant professor at The University of Illinois, Chicago, read his poems with themes  ranging from racism to popular culture. With each reading, Reeves emphasized every emotion and feeling the poem offered, resulting in cheering and praise from the audience.

The last author, Michelle Orange, read one of her essays from her published novel, “This is Running For Your Life: Essays,” discussing her trip to Beirut, Lebanon during the spontaneous bombings occurring. Her vivid use of language and detail transported the audience right into her essay and a silence drifted through the crowd as she read through her experience.

The second night featured two writers, poet Sandra Lim and author Manuel Gonzales. Lim began by reading a handful of pieces from her book “The Wilderness” as well as a few pieces from her upcoming book. Most of her poetry discussed real life experiences, especially her move from California to Massachusetts as an assistant professor at The University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Gonzales finished the event by reading the last part of his work, “The Miniature Wife and Other Stories.”  His out-of-the-box story, discussing the woes of a zombie office worker falling in love with his human co-worker, earned laughs from the audience, helped by his quick delivery.

This group of authors exemplifies what the festival aims to accomplish. Each author’s pieces all differed in style and subject matter, resulting in a perfect balance of material for the festival.

“We aim to represent the richness of the current literary scene by inviting writers who come from a diversity of backgrounds and who work in a range of aesthetic styles,” Van Meter said. “We want to bring to campus writers who test boundaries and whose career paths will stand as compelling examples from students.”

The campus bookstore has set up a special display showcasing the authors’ novels.


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All’s Fair in Love and Coffee? Find out at University Ministry’s Fair Trade Coffee Break

Ask any college student what their trick is for getting through a morning class or pulling one of those end-of-the-semester all-nighters, and coffee will most likely be the answer. But while many students can tell you the ins and outs of their coffee shop orders — a skinny, double-shot, whip cream, milk alternative latte, anyone? — how many can tell you about where their coffee actually came from?

The University Ministry is hosting a weekly Fair Trade Coffee Break every Tuesday in April for students to get the chance to enjoy free Fair Trade coffee and chocolate and to gain some insight into how our coffee gets into our cups each morning. The coffee breaks feature conversations about Fair Trade and other coffee-related aspects, like child slavery, sustainability, and advocacy.

Fair Trade is a social movement (and now coffee label) that is dedicated to (and indicative of) trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries.

Resident Minister Ashley Artmann, who came up with the idea for USF’s Fair Trade Coffee Breaks explained: “[The farmers are] the lowest people on the totem pole [in the coffee industry] so Fair Trade makes sure that they get paid more fairly and that there are better labor practices in the industry.”

One way that Fair Trade works is by encouraging manufacturers to buy directly from farmers, instead of from a middleman who profits off farmers.

For Artmann, promoting Fair Trade on campus is a simple and engaging way of raising awareness amongst USF students about the origin of their coffee. “I think that Fair Trade is one of the easiest ways to help support the [coffee] industry because it’s so easy to find, so there’s really no excuse not to,” she said. “I drink a lot of coffee,” said Artmann, who said she likes “knowing that the goods and services I purchase are not only not hurting people, but also actually helping people.”

Katie Dechantz, program manager at the University Ministry, agrees with Artmann’s thinking. “[The Fair Trade Coffee Break] is a great event because the coffee draws people in and there’s great information,” she said.

While Fair Trade Coffee is a cause worth promoting, sophomore International Studies Major Miranda Calderon explained another view of the system. “It’s great to showcase the Fair Trade system,” said Calderon, “[but] Fair Trade isn’t the most perfect system [just] because it’s better than the regular system.”

Calderon, who participated in the Esther Madriz University Scholars’ trip to Nicaragua to study the practice of Fair Trade coffee farming first hand, explained that, while cutting the middle man out may leave more profit in coffee exchange, that money often goes to the coffee farm owner, and not necessarily the farmers themselves. “I would still recommend buying Fair Trade coffee, so that Fair Trade gets the recognition it needs,” said Calderon.

So how can we know if our coffee is Fair Trade?

There are two labels to look out for when buying coffee at the grocery store, Fair Trade International and Fair Trade USA.

“San Francisco is home to a lot of small roasting coffee companies who use Direct Trade, an alternate to Fair Trade where the people doing the roasting work directly with the farmers,” added Artmann.

University Ministry hopes to spark a conversation amongst USF coffee drinkers. “Coffee is just the gateway to the important information,” said Dechantz.


Catch the next Fair Trade Coffee Break Tuesday April 22 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the University Ministry Romero Room located in lower Phelan. Don’t forget to BYOM (bring your own mug).


Twenty Years Later: Commemorating the Rwandan Genocide with Consolee Nishimwe

Consolee Nishimwe was a 14-year-old girl when she was forced from her home and into hiding during the three-month massacre known as the Rwandan Genocide.

An estimated 800,000 people were killed in the massacre, which took place in Rwanda between April and July of 1994.

Nishimwe, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, visited campus on Tuesday, April 8 to share her story of loss and hope, and lead the USF community in commemorating those who lost their lives twenty years ago.

She spoke of the tragedies she witnessed as friends and neighbors turned against her and her family, as well as the physical and emotional torture she personally endured.

Having lost much of her immediate family, she spoke of often losing the hope and will to live, but shared with the audience her mother’s words to “just keep praying within your heart.”

Despite her tragic story, Nishimwe escaped the genocide with her mother and sister, and expressed the importance to always remain hopeful.

Following her speech, attendees partook in a candlelight vigil and took a moment of silence to remember the lives lost during the killings. Nishimwe also held a book signing for her 2012 memoir, “Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience and Hope.”

Since 1994, Nishimwe has become a vigorous defender of global women’s rights, and a committed speaker on genocide.

The departments of International Studies and African Studies hosted the event, titled “Twenty Years Later: Commemorating the Rwandan Genocide with Consolee Nishimwe,” during this month of global reflection.

Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutu extremists in what were then called merely ‘acts’ of genocide. As the world stood by, this genocide raged in Rwanda against entire families, often through mass killings in hospitals and churches. These unspeakable acts of hate and violence were built upon a convoluted and hostile history heightened by colonialism, and resulted in an estimated 800,000 lost lives.

The Rwandan Community of  California will be holding a commemoration of the 1994 genocide on Thursday, May 15 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stanford University.