Fairfield University’s president named superior general of nearby Jesuit community


Jesuit Father John Cecero, Provincial of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, announced a priestly appointment affecting Fairfield University and Jesuits in the northeast.

Fr. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University, has been appointed as the Superior of the LaFarge House Jesuit Community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That means this is his last semester at Fairfield. His new assignment begins Jan. 1, 2017.

LaFarge House, named after civil rights pioneer, writer and editor John LaFarge, S.J., was established at Harvard University in 1964 as a residence and center of Jesuit activity at the University.

“The corporate mission for this community, which will be comprised mainly of scholars and advanced doctoral students, will be to foster the spiritual and moral formation of the neighboring academic communities, primarily at Harvard University,” Fr. Cecero said in a statement. “Given Jeff’s background as President at Fairfield University for more than 12 years, it is clear he has the demonstrated academic and administrative credentials to engage with senior colleagues at a major university such as Harvard.”

Fr. von Arx addresses the university community

“I am excited to be undertaking this new mission, furthering Jesuit higher education, facilitating the relationship between Jesuit scholars and Harvard and working to further the Society’s intellectual apostolate,” said Fr. von Arx. “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve Fairfield University these past 12 years. I am grateful to the Fairfield University Board of Trustees for their confidence and support, and to the entire Fairfield community for all that we have achieved to ensure that Fairfield has remained a leader in Jesuit higher education. I believe Fairfield has a great future ahead.”

Fairfield University announced July 20 that the Board of Trustees has begun the search for a new president. The University has recently completed a new strategic plan to guide the institution for the coming years. The largest capital campaign in its history, Fairfield Rising, is approaching its conclusion and is expected to meet or exceed its $160 million target. Phase I of a new University master plan is well underway, which includes new facilities for nursing, health sciences and STEM programs, classroom and technological upgrades, state-of-the-art sports and recreational facilities, a new student residence and an expanded student center. Fairfield has seen an increase in applicants in recent years and is anticipating the largest incoming class in history this fall.

“As we approach our 75th anniversary, this is a wonderful time for Fairfield University, and for a new leader to build upon the success we have seen. I want to thank Fr. von Arx for his years of leadership and wish him well in his next assignment in Cambridge,” said Frank Carroll, Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Ranked as one of the top 10 Catholic universities in the nation, Fairfield will ensure that its Jesuit and Catholic identity will remain at the core of its mission and vision of the future as it undergoes this important presidential transition process. Mr. Carroll indicated that the Board’s first priority will be to identify a small group of Fairfield University constituents to serve on the University Presidential Search Committee to advise the Board in the selection of a new president.