Thomas More University announces its next president

Thomas More University’s Board of Trustees announced May 1 that, following a national search, they have elected Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D. as the University’s 15th president. Dr. Chillo, who begins at TMU on June 1, has served as the president of Newbury College in Brookline, Massachusetts, since 2014. He is also a professor of humanities and has taught first-year seminar and courses in American History.

The TMU community will have the opportunity to welcome President-elect Chillo as the University’s 15th president on Thursday, May 23 outside the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel on campus at 10 a.m.

“While Thomas More University was blessed with a pool of excellent candidates who met our presidential qualifications, it was Dr. Chillo who emerged as our unanimous choice for this appointment given his executive, academic, and administrative experience, along with his energy, insights, and collaborative style,” said Board of Trustees Chair Judith Marlowe, Ph.D.

During his presidency at Newbury, the college increased its fundraising, received its largest donation ever, built a nationally-recognized Student Success Center, and established the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Dr. Chillo’s student-centered focus led to the development of new academic programs, athletic and co-curriculum expansion, and improvements in student outcomes. He served as executive vice president and vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions from 2008 to 2014.

Dr. Chillo, a first-generation college graduate, earned his bachelor’s degree at Binghamton University, a Master of Public Administration at Long Island University, and a Doctor of Law and Policy at Northeastern University. With more than 25 years of private, higher education experience, prior to Newbury, his past positions include senior leadership roles at Colby-Sawyer College, Wheelock College, and St. Thomas Aquinas College.

“It is a great honor and my distinct privilege to be selected to serve as Thomas More University’s 15th president,” Dr. Chillo said. “I look forward to working with the entire TMU community as someone who serves as a mission-driven, servant leader dedicated to academic and student excellence. I strongly believe that Thomas More University is well positioned for the future and has the unique opportunity to create a bold and visionary future for Catholic higher education.”

“His enthusiasm for leading Thomas More forward into our second century of educational excellence inspired by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition focuses on preparing learners of all ages for life’s opportunities and challenges,” said Dr. Marlowe. “Optimism, stewardship, team building based on trust, and mutual respect are the bedrock of his approach to leadership. We are grateful that he has accepted our offer and very pleased to welcome Dr. Chillo to our campus and community.”

Dr. Chillo plans to focus on TMU’s future through emphasis on expanding academic program development across the institution, creating a dynamic student experience, building local, regional, national, and international partnerships that boost student and alumni opportunities as well as fundraising.

“I am pleased that Dr. Chillo has been elected president of our beloved Thomas More University,” said Bishop Roger Foys. “I commend the Board of Trustees for their diligence in conducting this search and presenting for my approval the appointment of Dr. Chillo. I look forward to him serving the university. At the same time I extend my thanks to Dr. Kathleen Jagger for her service to the university as acting president this past school year.”

Holy Trinity School to unite in Bellevue

By David Cooley.

In a letter addressed to parents dated April 11, the Diocese of Covington Department of Catholic Schools announced that Bishop Roger Foys had approved the recommendation that “beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the students of Holy Trinity Junior High School (Newport) will join the other students at Holy Trinity Elementary (Bellevue) to create one kindergarten through eighth-grade school building.” Holy Trinity School has served the cities of Bellevue, Dayton and Newport since the consolidation of three schools — Holy Spirit, Newport; St. Bernard, Dayton; and St. Michael, Bellevue — in 2002.

The letter, which was signed by Michael Clines, superintendent of Schools; Msgr. William Cleves, pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Newport; and Father Martin Pitstick, pastor, Divine Mercy Parish, Bellevue, and St. Bernard Parish, Dayton, stated that this move is in line with the mission of the Alliance for Catholic Urban Education (ACUE) and is part of the ongoing effort “to keep Catholic education affordable and available in the urban core.”

The move, according to the letter, will unite the student body, faculty and principal at one location and alleviate the expense involved in operating two buildings. The letter acknowledged the sacrifice the change means for Holy Spirit Parish and stated that the monies saved would be put toward the students’ educational programs. The three parishes will continue their partnership to support the success of the school.

Holy Trinity School, Bellevue.

“Catholic education is so important and we must do everything in our power to keep it as affordable as best we can; this is especially vital in our urban core,” said Bishop Foys in an interview with the Messenger. “We believe in our Catholic schools and sacrifice for our schools because our students are priceless. That’s why we do what we do — it’s not the buildings, it’s the students and the faith taught at those schools that matter.”

Kendra McGuire, assistant superintendent of Schools, agreed that the most important facet of using one building was making tuition more affordable, but, she said, that is just the first of many positives.

“Another positive aspect is that with the money we are saving, we can invest more into programs for the students,” said Mrs. McGuire. “Therefore, academically it is a better situation for the students because they are going to get the benefits of the money for their schooling program as opposed to it going into the cost of the facility.”

Mrs. McGuire said that the majority of the families that are enrolled at Holy Trinity School reside in Bellevue or are parishioners at Divine Mercy, and that the central location in Bellevue will cause the least amount of disruption for the families. Also, the Bellevue building, as opposed to the building in Newport, is large enough to fit the K–8 classes. The Holy Spirit Child Development Center for infants, toddlers and preschool children will continue to operate in Newport with room to grow.

“At Holy Trinity School there are going to be more activities that the students can partake in that they didn’t have before that will benefit the school as a whole,” said Mrs. McGuire. “For example, student government; we were looking at establishing an art program, which they don’t have currently. Another possibility is an accelerated or advanced math class at the middle school level, and so on.

“I feel like all of that is just the beginning,” she said. “Once this move is established there are going to be a lot of new opportunities to achieve more.”

Mrs. McGuire is happy that Katie Jacobs is the principal of Holy Trinity and believes that she is the right person to have in place to keep things moving forward.

“Mrs. Jacobs has really done a great job,” she said. “As a former student of St. Bernard School, she has a personal connection and her heart is in the mission of the school. She is a strong principal and is working really hard to see the school grow and be successful.”

On Friday, following the official announcement, Mrs. Jacobs spoke to the junior high, particularly the sixth- and seventh-grade students, about the change. She said that they were very excited.

“I told them that I have some high expectations for them as leaders of the school,” said Mrs. Jacobs. “I told them that I expect them to demonstrate for the younger students what it means to their work, to behave in the classroom and to respect the teachers.”

Mrs. Jacobs said that they are planning on building family units next year — taking students from every grade level and combining them into families. At least once a month they will enjoy special family activities together to help them build unity and work in collaboration with each other.

“I told the upper class students that I was going to count on them to help build that linear alignment of all the grade levels when we do our special activities,” she said.

Mrs. Jacobs said that she was also excited about the move, and she believes it is going to build up morale for the entire school.

“I think that a lot of times they felt left out at the junior high — the teachers included, because there was only three of them. So, I think it is going to be a big morale boost to have that team atmosphere,” she said. “This move will be uniting us into one campus. We will all be in one spot together and it will be great for the students and the teachers.”

Mrs. Jacobs said that everyone seems to be really enthusiastic and she has received nothing but positive feedback from parents, the teachers, the students.

“It’s going to be a busy summer, but so far this move has been very welcomed,” she said. “I am happy to have Bishop Foys’ blessing on this and to know that he fully believes in our school. To be back on one campus means a lot to us. I am ready to hit the ground running and prep for next year.”

Holy Trinity School, Bellevue, has open spots available for every grade and is currently enrolling for the 2019-2020 school year.

Bishop Foys addresses Covington Catholic community — ‘I stand with you … together we will work it out’

By Laura Keener.

You could literally hear a pin drop as the faculty, staff and student body of Covington Catholic High School waited in the gym, Jan. 23, for the arrival of Bishop Roger Foys. As Bishop Foys entered the gymnasium the entire assembly stood up, waited for Bishop Foys to take his seat and then in unison took their seats. He was there to address the students about the events that took place Jan. 18, after the March for Life in Washington, D.C., where a student standing face-to-face with an elder Native American was captured on video and ignited a firestorm on social media — making headlines around the world

Bob Rowe, principal, opened with a prayer, then introduced Bishop Foys.

“These last four days have been a living hell for many of you, for your parents, for your relatives, for your friends and it certainly has been for me,” Bishop Foys said as he began to address the assembly. “We are under all kinds of pressure from a lot of different people, for a lot of different reasons.”

Bishop Foys began by sharing how impressive the March for Life had been, especially the Mass celebrated at St. Dominic Church just before the march.

“I know many of you couldn’t be at the Mass because you had a problem with your buses. It was really a moving time,” said Bishop Foys. “Over 1,000 people gathered for that Mass and there’s a real reverence about it.

“I told the students before we dismissed that … when they left that church and when they marched on the streets of Washington, D.C. for life, like we’ve done for the last 46 years, that they represented what was best about the Church and what was best about the Diocese of Covington; that we were sending out our best to stand up for life. It was a wonderful day, filled with real grace. That night I slept peacefully. It was the last night I’ve slept peacefully.”

Bishop Foys explained that by Saturday morning he and Curia staff were beginning to receive calls and e-mails from news stations and people from all over the world commenting about the confrontation in Washington. By Sunday morning the diocesan website was receiving over 200 thousand hits per hour and e-mails were coming in at a rate of over 10,000 an hour — crashing servers. Staff phones rang persistently for days — cell phones and office phones — until voicemail boxes were full; calls from media seeking a statement, or comments from individuals all over the world criticizing either the students for their behavior or the diocese for their lack of support.

“Soon, my brother bishops began to text me worrying about my welfare and yours. People care about you. People love and care and are concerned about the Church and they are concerned about you.”

Bishop Foys went on to summarize the situation that he, Mr. Rowe, the students, the Covington Catholic community and the diocese are now facing and about the investigation being done.

“This is a no-win situation. We are not going to win. No matter what we say, one way or another, there are going to be people who are going to argue about it, people who will try to get into people’s heads and say, ‘This is what he meant. This is what they meant when they were doing this and doing that.’ The best we can do is, first of all, to find out the truth, to find out what really went on, what really happened. So we do have investigators who are here today, a third-party who are not associated with our diocese, not associated with me or with the school, who are working on this investigation to find out what happened.

“I am the shepherd of this Church. I have to present not only to the people of our diocese but also to the world the facts. Not the facts that someone has imagined or the facts that someone thinks or facts that people might determine from seeing a video. I encourage all of you, especially the students who were there at the march, to cooperate with the investigators. This is with the permission of your parents. We’re not going to have you do anything without the permission of your parents. And the teachers and chaperones who were there, I am asking you, too, to be cooperative with this.

“Father Michael Hennigen (school chaplain) has said that ‘The truth will set us free.’ That’s true. It is my fond hope, it is my prayer, that when the truth comes out you and I and the diocese will be exonerated. But I need something to present to God’s people and say, ‘Look! Here are the objective facts.’ This investigation isn’t going to be over overnight — it can’t be if it’s going to be thorough.

“Some people’s lives, as you know, have been affected for the rest of their lives and the honor of our school has been tainted. We have received, and probably you have received, horrible, vile e-mails. This brings out the worst in people.

“We have to ask ourselves, what are we going to learn from this? One of the things I hope we’ve learned, I hope you’ve learned, is that perception can become reality. A person can be doing something that is absolutely innocent but if he gives the slightest hint, the slightest perception, that this is something wrong that is what people are going to remember, and then for them that becomes their reality.

“I’m going to ask you, as your bishop, to stay off social media in regards to this situation at least until it is resolved. Because the more you say — pro or con — the more you exacerbate the situation. You have to help, especially yourself, by getting off social media. Right now anything we say — you or I — anything we say is questioned. The devil is real; trust me. He has taken this good thing, this March for Life, and turned it into a media circus.”

Bishop Foys then talked to the students about the statements that have been released by the diocese and the school, which have been criticized.

“Some people think our first statement was too strong, but in my mind with what we saw and what we heard at the time, we had to say what we said and we meant it. If that behavior is genuine then we have to condemn it.

“We issued a second statement yesterday. Regardless of what you heard or what you’ve read or what you think— I am on your side. I want you to come out of this in a positive light.

“In our second statement I asked people to pray that we will arrive at the truth. The only way we can do that in an objective way is through a thorough and in-depth investigation. It is my hope and my prayer that, in the end, it will show exactly what happened and that we will be able to stand tall and proud. People will still criticize us one way or the other — people will believe it or not believe it — but at least we can say we’ve taken the time to talk to all the parties involved and to get all the footage we can that was taken that day and say, ‘Here, this is not what we think happened or what we would like to believe happened, but this is what in fact happened. If there was some wrongdoing we have to own up to that, too. Father Michael is right, it is the truth that will set us free.”

In closing he reminded the students how much he supports Catholic education and CCHS in particular.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I support Catholic education. Over the last 17 years I have come to Covington Catholic a number of times each year. I always open your school year with Mass and I celebrate with you your successes. It pains me, more than you can imagine, having to be here today; but we can get over this. I’m 73 years old, I have faced a lot of struggles and hardships — we will get over this, there will be time to heal, it will be all right. But in the meantime preserve the integrity of the school, be the best that you can be and lay off the social media for a while.

“Know that I stand with you, that I join with you in that ‘Spirit that will not die’ and that together we will work through this. Thank you and God bless you.”

As Bishop Foys turned the podium over to Mr. Rowe, he expressed his confidence in the principal. “Mr. Rowe has done a wonderful job here in his leadership. I have full confidence in him and he will continue to lead you,” he said.

In his final remarks before dismissing the assembly Mr. Rowe said, “Bishop Foys supports us — now we need to support him.”

Thomas More earns university status

The Thomas More College Board of Trustees announced Sept. 28 that the college would officially become Thomas More University effective Oct. 1. Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education formally granted university status to the college in July. While full implementation of Thomas More’s name change will take place over the coming 2018-2019 academic year, the college rolled out its new identity at the end of last week, wrapping up a weeklong series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Crestview Hills campus dedication.

The new university designation celebrates the evolution and success of the college, and it positions Thomas More to leverage its expanding academic offerings, including new graduate programs in ethical leadership studies and athletic training, as well as an array of online programs. The transition to university will necessitate a new organizational structure by creating three distinct colleges and one new institute: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and Health Sciences, and Institute for Ethical Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The college’s breadth of academic programs has been enriched by recent growth in its physical facilities. This fall, Thomas More will open a new residence hall on its campus, a new STEM Outreach Center at its Biology Field Station on the Ohio River, and it will further expand its campus footprint with the new Center for Health Sciences (in partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare) and a Performing Arts Laboratory, both located in Edgewood within walking distance of the campus core. The college has also witnessed significant growth in its endowment, donor contributions, co-curricular programs and enrollment — welcoming the largest incoming class in the school’s history this fall.

“This is a landmark event, and we believe it is the right time in our history to assume the university moniker,” said Kathleen Jagger, acting president of Thomas More. “In 2021, we will mark our centennial anniversary, and this transition to university is the first in a series of strategic moves we are making to position Thomas More for its next century of work.”

Dr. Jagger noted that the new designation will enhance the school’s expansion, marketing and branding efforts as it seeks to position itself, its students and its faculty on the global stage. Dr. Jagger explained that the term “college” in many places around the world actually refers to high schools. “Our new identity as Thomas More University should translate into greater credibility on the international stage for both our students and for those students from other countries who might want to choose an education here.”

“The Board of Trustees is proud to share this momentous announcement with our community,” said Marc Neltner, chairman of the Thomas More College Board of Trustees. “As Thomas More continues to innovate, our commitment to our students remains steadfast. Thomas More University will continue to provide the exceptional, values-based education that has given us our reputable status as a Catholic institution grounded in the liberal arts, while offering new, expanded professional and integrative academic programs.”

Bishop Foys’ statement on current sex abuse crisis

My dear Friends in Christ,

A Pennsylvania Grand Jury released, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, a report detailing the names of 301 priests who sexually abused over 1,000 minors over a 70-year period in that State. This report, coupled with the recent revelations regarding the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and seminaries in Boston, Mass., and Lincoln, Neb., has shocked and angered God’s people, including myself.

These revelations call to mind for me, as I am sure it does for many of you, 16 years ago when we, in the Diocese of Covington, faced a similar crisis. It was an extremely difficult time for us as a Diocese — for our people, for our priests, for me and most especially for the victims of sexual abuse.

Meeting individually with over 200 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse by priests changed my life. I have seen the pain in their eyes and in many instances shared their tears from their experiences. Their pain lives in my heart and impacts every decision I make in my quest to protect children and vulnerable adults. I will carry their pain with me to the Bishops’ Conference in November as we again discuss the concrete changes that need to occur within the governance of the Church to better address the sin of sexual abuse within the Church.

Pope Francis, in his Aug. 20 statement concerning the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, said, “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening.”

I assure you that in our Diocese we will continue to do everything we can to address this issue. I commit myself to acknowledging and working together, with our priests and people, toward this important task, that “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening.”

Let us begin by placing ourselves in Christ’s hands. Please join me in praying for the victims of child sexual abuse by clergy, that they may find peace and healing in the arms of Christ. Pray also for the good and faithful priests who, with me, are humiliated and disheartened by the sins of their brother priests, that they may continue to live faithful lives in the example of Christ.

Christ, alone, suffered death on the Cross to redeem us from our sins. Now, Jesus, we place our trust in You.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.

Bishop of Covington