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Nov. 19, 2018

Dear members of the John Carroll University community,

As we head into our short break, I hope you take time to disconnect from your daily routine and reconnect with your family, friends, and loved ones. Thanksgiving provides for us a moment to remember, and be grateful for, all that we have received in our lives.

My family and I are truly blessed to be a part of the John Carroll community. In the last few months, my wife, Jill, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you. We have seen firsthand the hard work of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Without that tireless effort, John Carroll would not be the place we all enjoy.

From my family to yours, I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and safe travels this weekend.

Best wishes,
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.
President, John Carroll University

Nov. 11, 2018

Dear members of the John Carroll University community,

At John Carroll, veterans have always played an important role in our community. In past generations, our students have put aside their studies and answered the call to serve during wartime. For decades, our ROTC program has empowered men and women to become the leaders our nation needs. And, as veterans return home, we remain dedicated to providing them the resources and support necessary to rejoin the academic world.

On behalf of the entire John Carroll community, I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, past and present, who have served or are currently serving in the United States military. Thank you for your sacrifices, your perseverance, and your bravery. We owe you an immense debt of gratitude for your service to this community, our country, and the world.

Best wishes,
Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.

October 27, 2018

Dear members of the John Carroll University community,

We are deeply saddened and devastated by this morning’s shocking tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This senseless act of violence and hate contradicts every human value that we hold dear at John Carroll University. As a Jesuit Catholic University, we are especially disturbed that a religious institution was targeted.

Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the victims, law enforcement, members of the congregation, and the entire Jewish community. At our community Mass tomorrow and Monday, we will continue to pray for all those impacted.


Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.

President, John Carroll University

September 10, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am thrilled to announce that John Carroll University has moved up to the #4 spot in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, among Regional Universities in the Midwest.

This is a milestone moment for our community, as it marks the 30th consecutive year that we have been recognized in the top 10 in the Midwest. Our two-spot improvement allows us to proudly say that we are the top-ranked institution in the state of Ohio in the Midwest category.

John Carroll was also recognized as:

  • #3 regionally in Best for Veterans, up from #5
  • #8 regionally in Best Value
  • #8 regionally in Most Innovative Schools
  • #172 nationally for Undergraduate Business, up from #183.

In my short time here on campus, I have observed the commitment of our faculty to their scholarly research, teaching, and engaging our students in the process of learning. Our staff is devoted to supporting our students in and out of the classroom. This ranking is a reflection of your tireless work, which has led to our graduates earning a reputation as inspired leaders who are able to act competently in a global and diverse world.

The future of our University is bright, and I look forward to working with you to continue this tradition of excellence as we enhance the reputation of John Carroll University.

Best wishes,

August 22, 2018

Dear members of the John Carroll University community,

On behalf of University leadership, I welcome all faculty, staff, and students back for the 2018-19 academic year. Jill and I look forward to meeting you during our walks around campus, at upcoming events, and throughout a busy fall sports schedule.

This is a great time to be a Blue Streak, and an exciting time in the history of our University.

In May, we announced a $10 million transformational gift to establish the John M. and Mary Jo Boler College of Business. The “Inspired Lives Campaign” for the new Boler College has resulted in $5 million in additional gifts from members of the JCU Board of Directors. In the College of Arts & Sciences, the National Science Foundation awarded us with a $640,000 grant to recruit, retain, and provide scholarship support for STEM students. And our athletic teams look to build off 10 conference championships and a fourth consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy – congratulations and good luck to all of our student-athletes!

The Class of 2022 is the largest freshman class since 2003, and our financial picture continues to improve. The recent upgrading of our bond rating by Moody’s reflects the hard work of all units on campus, our strong brand as a Jesuit Catholic University, and improved operating performance.

Working with multiple units on campus, we have launched, conducted, and completed national searches for key leadership positions:

  • Stephanie Levenson is joining our community as vice president for enrollment management. Stephanie has more than 20 years of experience in enrollment management, most recently as executive director of admissions at Elmhurst College, and before that as senior assistant director of admissions at Loyola University Chicago.
  • Eric Butler joins us as the University’s new Title IX coordinator. Eric previously served as the Title IX coordinator and interim director of equal opportunity at the University of Denver.
  • We are also working with Isaacson, Miller on a national search for a new provost and academic vice president. This search is being chaired by Emily Butler, Ph.D., of the department of English.

We thank Sherri Crahen, Ph.D., associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, for serving as our interim Title IX coordinator over the summer, and Jim Krukones, Ph.D., who is serving as our interim academic vice president while continuing his duties as associate provost.

The summer was a great orientation for me, personally. After arriving on campus on May 1, and before moving into the President’s Office on June 1, I spent my first month in Rodman Hall. This allowed me to meet with alumni and donors, including a visit with the Boler family in Chicago, and a number of our students, staff, and faculty.

The month of June included another trip to Chicago, this time to visit with Rev. Brian Paulson, S.J., provincial of the Midwest Province, and Rev. Dan McDonald, S.J., provincial assistant for higher education of the Midwest Province. This was followed by a trip to Bilbao, Spain, in early July with Vice President for Mission and Identity Ed Peck, Ph.D., for the Deusto Assembly 2018 meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). The trip not only allowed me to get to know the presidents of the other American Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), but I was able to spend quality time with JCU President Emeritus Rev. Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.Over his 12 years as President, Fr. Niehoff was an advocate for social justice through service learning and is very proud of all that we have accomplished. JCU students, working with Sister Katherine Feely’s team in our Center for Service & Social Action (CSSA), put in more than 138,000 community service hours this past year, which is truly amazing. My IAJU trip included a day in Loyola to visit the birthplace of St. Ignatius, and meetings with Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., father general of the Society of Jesus.

My travels then took me to Loyola University of Chicago’s retreat house in Woodstock, Illinois, to participate in the 11th Cohort of the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP). I was joined in Cohort 11 by John M. Boler Endowed Dean Al Miciak, Ph.D., and JCU alums Terri ’78 and George ’78 Lewandowski. The ICP is a national program designed to educate and form administrators and faculty more deeply in the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of higher education.

Now, I am back on campus and look forward to a busy and exciting year ahead. As we continue to implement the University’s strategic plan for 2015-2020, Promise and Prominence, we will be busy working with multiple stakeholders on and off campus on our strategic plan for 2020-2025. Jill and I hope to see you at Presidential Inauguration events on September 6, which include the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 9 a.m. in the Church of the Gesu, and the inauguration ceremony at 11 a.m. on Hamlin Quad.

Best wishes,

Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.

May 30, 2018

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Thank you all for the warm welcome to John Carroll University and University Heights! From our Jesuit Catholic heritage and its clarity of purpose, to our unique programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Boler College of Business, John Carroll has an outsized impact on our region, country, and world. That impact is the result of all of your hard work. My wife Jill and I have made our home close to campus and greatly enjoy our walks as we meet students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni. We are learning first hand just what makes John Carroll so very special. My listening and learning will continue in the weeks and months ahead, and I look forward to engaging you in that process.

JCU is in the process of searching for a number of key leadership positions. As many of you know Nick Santilli is stepping down as Interim Academic Vice President and Provost and retiring from John Carroll University on May 31. We are grateful to Nick for his outstanding service and leadership over the years and will miss him greatly. The search process for a new AVP and Provost has begun. Associate Professor Emily Butler (English) has agreed to chair the committee.  She will be joined by three faculty-elected members, Professors Brent Brossmann(communication), William Elliott (economics and finance), and Christopher Sheil (biology). Vice President for Student Affairs Mark McCarthy will serve as my designee on the search committee. A staff member and a member of our student body (both to be determined) will round out the seven-person committee. The committee will seek to complete their process by December with the goal to hire an individual by early 2019.

In the interim, multiple members of the University’s leadership team will support the roles and responsibilities of the Provost’s Office. Jim Krukones has graciously agreed to take on the role of Interim Academic Vice President, foremost for the purpose of key faculty governance issues including promotion and tenure, while he continues in his duties as Associate AVP. As a way to help Jim and to develop my own deeper knowledge of our academic programs, I intend to work directly with the academic deans to develop and implement college-level strategies. Vice President for University Mission and Identity Ed Peck has also agreed to support the Provost’s Office with respect to faculty programs.

On a separate but related note, our HLC accreditation will be in the able hands of Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment Todd Bruce and Professor Michael Martin (biology), where Todd will be our formal liaison to HLC. Both Todd and Mike have worked closely with Dr. Santilli on the HLC process throughout the past year in preparation for our upcoming review in the 2018-19 academic year.

We are making progress in our search for a Vice President of Enrollment Management. Thanks to Nick Santilli and Ed Peck for co-chairing that process in recent weeks. The committee has worked with Napier and Associates to identify candidates. We conducted off-site interviews last week and look forward to finalist visits on campus in early June.

Finally, Kendra Svilar is stepping down from her role as Interim Title IX Coordinator on May 31 to take another position. Kendra will be missed, and we wish her the best in her new position. The University has begun a search for a full-time Title IX Coordinator, co-chaired by General Counsel Colleen Treml and Mark McCarthy. Many thanks to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sherri Crahen for agreeing to serve as the Interim Title IX Coordinator, as we accelerate the search for a replacement. Details of the process will be communicated as they become available.

Thank you all for your service to John Carroll University! I wish you a pleasant and restful summer. Before we know it the students will be back on campus, as we once again enjoy the rhythm of academic life.

Best wishes,


Jan. 6, 2018

Dear Members of the John Carroll University Community,

On Friday, we learned of the passing of Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J., who died at the age of 88 after a recent illness. Fr. Currie served as the president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities from 1997 to 2011. A revered leader in Jesuit higher education and champion of social justice, he also served as president of Wheeling Jesuit University (1972-1982) and Xavier University (1982-1985); director of Georgetown University’s Bicentennial celebration (1989); rector of the Jesuit community at Saint Joseph’s University (1991-1997); co-founder of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (1996); and as a faculty member at Georgetown and Saint Joseph’s. Upon his retirement from the AJCU, Fr. Currie served as the executive director of the Jesuit Commons, an initiative that grew from JesuitNET to provide online education to students in refugee camps.

Although I did not have the privilege of working with Fr. Currie, I, like all of us, am the beneficiary of his visionary work that helped shape the AJCU. As president, Fr. Currie oversaw the development of JesuitNET, the nation’s first Jesuit distance education network; strengthened the Association’s relationships with members of the U.S. Congress; created the Jesuit Leadership Seminar; welcomed the first of many lay presidents; and coordinated a joint response to Hurricane Katrina, that allowed students from Loyola University New Orleans to spend their fall 2005 semester at sister Jesuit institutions across the country, including John Carroll University. Many John Carroll faculty and staff will remember Fr. Currie through his tireless involvement in the many different conferences and programs sponsored by the AJCU and Heartland/Delta, a regional grouping of Jesuit schools in the middle and southern parts of the country.

The AJCU press release concludes by reminding us that “Fr. Currie was a beloved figure both within and outside of the Jesuit network. He remained proud of his roots in Philadelphia, but thrived on the energy of Capitol Hill during his years in Washington, D.C. His tireless energy, keen sense of humor, legendary story-telling skills, and enormous heart will all be greatly missed. We invite friends to share their memories of Fr. Currie in the comments section beneath an online version of this release.”

On Sunday evening, January 13, JCU’s Campus Ministry will remember Fr. Currie at the 9:00 P.M. Mass in St. Francis Chapel. Please join me in praying for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family and the Jesuits at Georgetown University where he was living and across the country. To read more about Fr. Currie or to leave an online memory, please click here.

Michael D. Johnson
President, John Carroll University

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Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D.

Angela O'Stricker
Executive Assistant to the President