Joseph M. McShane

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Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
Joseph M. McShane.jpg
32nd President of
Fordham University
Assumed office
July 1, 2003
Preceded by Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J.
23rd President of the
University of Scranton
In office
1998 – July 1, 2003
Preceded by Joseph A. Panuska, S.J.
Succeeded by Scott Pilarz, S.J.
Personal details
Born (1949-06-19) June 19, 1949 (age 67)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Regis High School
Boston College
Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
University of Chicago
Profession Jesuit priest, academic
Religion Roman Catholic

The Rev. Joseph Michael McShane, S.J., (born June 19, 1949) is an American Jesuit priest, noted theologian and the current President of Fordham University. He succeeded Father Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J. as the University President in 2003. Before becoming President of Fordham University, Father McShane had previously served as the President of the University of Scranton and Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill. In addition to his role as President of Fordham University, McShane was appointed to serve on the Commission on Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Financing by New York Governor David A. Paterson in 2008. On July 1, 2009, McShane threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium to commemorate the 150th anniversary of baseball at Fordham.


Father McShane grew up in New York City and graduated from Regis High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston College and went on to earn a Master's degree from the same institution in 1972. In 1977, McShane was ordained as a Jesuit priest, after receiving his M.Div and S.T.M. degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. In 1981, Father McShane received his Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago.

Career in academia[edit]

From 1982 to 1992 Father McShane served as a professor of religious studies and eventually chair of religious studies at Le Moyne College. In 1992 he was made Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, the largest undergraduate college of Fordham University, where he served until 1998. That year, Father McShane left Fordham to become the president of the University of Scranton, a Jesuit institution. In 2003 Father McShane was instituted as the 32nd President of Fordham University, the post he currently holds.

Currently, Father McShane is a trustee of Fordham University ex-officio, St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Loyola University New Orleans and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. McShane also serves on the board of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

On April 19, 2017, Fordham University faculty voted no confidence in President McShane's leadership, based on violations of shared governance and his administration's management of a labor dispute with the University's contingent faculty. The vote was 88% in favor of no confidence.

Plans for Fordham University[edit]

In 2006 Father McShane unveiled a plan to enhance the reputation and the quality of education at Fordham University. The long-term goal of the University, according to McShane's plan, is to make Fordham the country's preeminent Catholic institution of higher learning. Father McShane believes that Fordham's location within New York City and its identity as a Jesuit institution are central to this vision. McShane has identified four key components of this strategic plan, as stated in a University press release:

  • to advance the culture of scholarship, teaching, research and service for faculty by investing in endowed chairs and faculty development to enhance recruitment and retention and secure world-class stature for University professors
  • to develop graduate and professional programs that can win distinctive excellence, national prominence and external support, as well as enhance the graduate and professional learning environment
  • to develop and sustain an undergraduate culture of learning and living that will be recognized for distinctive excellence and achieve national prominence
  • to generate and sustain the funding necessary to support investments in physical resources and the University endowment, and to fuel growth in annual giving.

Part of the plan is entitled Toward 2016, a reference toward the 175th anniversary of the founding of Fordham University. This 10-year phase was approved in 2005, and seeks to raise Fordham to prominence among American Catholic universities by 2016.

Additionally, Father McShane has unveiled an ambitious plan for the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University. The plan involves razing several buildings on the 8-acre (32,000 m2) Lincoln Center campus to make room for a new School of Law, an expanded library, student housing, a student activities center and parking facilities. The plan will add an additional 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of space to the campus. On June 30, 2009, the plan was approved by the New York City Council.


No Confidence Vote at Fordham

Preceded by
Joseph A. O'Hare S.J.
President of Fordham University
2003 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Joseph A. Panuska, S.J.
President of the University of Scranton
Succeeded by
Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.