Sixth president of Fairfield University dies


Image: Rev. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J.The Rev. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J., sixth president of Fairfield University, died on Monday, March 22, in Washington D.C. Born there on February 23, 1922, he graduated from Gonzaga College High School and after a year at Georgetown University entered the Society at Wernersville on September 7, 1939. He studied philosophy and theology at Woodstock College and went on to study at St. Albert de Louvain in Louvain, Belgium, where he was ordained on August 15, 1952, by Bishop Nicholas Kujur, S.J. Tertianship was at Muenster, Germany.

During regency he taught seniors at St. Joseph's Preparatory School from 1946 to 1949. He earned a doctorate in classics from the University of Chicago from 1954 to 1957. At Wernersville, where he stayed from 1957 to 1964 he was dean of studies. He was Dean of the College at Georgetown University from 1964 to 1966 and academic vice president from 1966 to 1972. The following year he was provincial consultor for higher studies.

Fr. Fitzgerald served as president of Fairfield University and Fairfield College Preparatory School from 1973 through 1979, overseeing the construction of the Student Recreational Complex and the Center for Financial Studies. In 1978 he directed the creation of the School of Business, which had been the Department of Business Administration for 31 years within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Following his tenure at Fairfield University, Fr. Fitzgerald went on to serve as president of St. Louis University. Fr. Fitzgerald left St. Louis University in 1987 and then joined the Jesuit community at Loyola College in Maryland.

At Loyola College he returned to the classroom where he taught classics and the history of ancient art from 1987 to 1996, and was Rector of the Jesuit community from 1991 to 1994. Failing health prompted his retirement to the Colombiere Residence in 1996 and then to Georgetown in 1999.

Fr. Fitzgerald was a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. A viewing was held on Wednesday, March 24, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Georgetown University, followed by a funeral mass at 8 p.m. A prayer service was held on Thursday, March 25, at 8:30 a.m. at the Dahlgren Chapel. The burial followed at the Georgetown Jesuit Cemetery at 9 a.m. Condolences may be made to Dr. and Mrs. James Fitzgerald, his brother and sister-in-law, at 8220 Kerry Road, Chevy Chase, MD, 20815.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 23, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 240