Brother James receives Papal Recognition

Brother James receives Papal Recognition

Published: November 27, 2013.

Brother James Gaffney, FSC,
President of Lewis University

Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (“For the Church and Pope”) medal Tuesday, November 26 at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Joliet, presented the Papal Recognition during the closing Mass and Celebration of the Year of Faith to him and to ten other outstanding members of the Diocese of Joliet.

Also known as the “Cross of Honour,” the award is conferred for distinguished service to the Catholic Church by lay persons, religious and clergy. It is the highest honor awarded by the Pope to laity and religious. This honor was established in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII.

“Much appreciation to Bishop Conlon for his very gracious and encouraging nomination of me for this extraordinary papal honor. In addition to being a personal honor, the Church is also recognizing Lewis University and our commitment as a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition,” Brother James commented.

Now in his 26th year as President of Lewis University, Brother James has led the University during a period of significant growth with enrollment increasing to more than 6,600 students, while Lewis University has received regional and national recognition for its academic quality and mission effectiveness. During his tenure, academic offerings have expanded to include more than 80 undergraduate programs, nearly 30 master’s level graduate degrees, and doctoral programs in education and nursing. The campus has been transformed through an investment of nearly $250 million in numerous construction and renovation projects.

Highly involved in service and leadership in more than a dozen external organizations, Brother James chairs the South Metropolitan Regional Higher Education Consortium and the Community Foundation of Will County, and serves as a member of the Executive Committee and former chair of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. He is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Will County Center for Economic Development. A board member and prior Chairman for the Great Lakes Valley Athletic Conference, he also participates on the Executive Council for Metropolis Strategies of Chicago.

Brother James chairs both the Lasallian Association of College and University Presidents and the Midwest District Council of the Christian Brothers. An alumnus of St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, he holds master’s degrees from St. Mary’s and Manhattan College (N.Y.), plus a doctorate in pastoral theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake (Ill.).

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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