Quincy University’s Board of Trustees entrusted Brian McGee, Ph.D., with Quincy University’s mission during a formal ceremony Friday, February 28. Religious leaders, city officials, and community leaders joined members of the campus community in celebration at the official inauguration of Quincy University’s 24th President in St. Francis Solanus Chapel.
During his inaugural address, President McGee, who has been at QU since July 1, affirmed his strong commitment to QU’s Catholic and Franciscan tradition.
“In becoming QU’s 24th president, I have taken on the duty to protect and build on the heritage of this university, beginning with the Franciscan friars who started a college on the Illinois frontier, 160 years ago, with little more than faith in God and a healthy helping of audacity,” said President McGee. “I am mindful of the legacy of those amazing friars and our first 20 priest-presidents of QU. Heaven only knows what the founding friars, German Franciscans all, would think of a lay Catholic president with an Irish last name.
He later noted QU’s story is rich with examples of hospitality and overcoming adversity.
“The story of Quincy University can be told through the history of its lands, buildings, and architecture. But the QU story is much more the story of people, the people who have educated generations of young men and women, many of whom would have no educational opportunity without the university. Inspired by the message of Franciscan hospitality, friars and laypeople alike have overcome adversity and collaborated to sustain the university in good times and bad.
President McGee shared his favorite moments on campus since the beginning of his tenure in July.
“Many of my favorite QU moments in these first seven-plus months have involved students, as when the men of Delta Tau Delta invited me over to eat hot wings, when the softball team indulged me in a few practice at-bats, when I have taken a late-night run through campus, or when I’ve sat in with a chorus rehearsal or pep band performance. My thanks to the current generation of Hawks, with whom I spend so many wonderful days.
President McGee unveiled new initiatives to move QU forward.
“Going forward, QU’s approach to success by design, and to achieving deep success, will include a score of new initiatives to go along with our historic strengths. This is our university’s future.
“At QU, deep success requires that we treat every student as an individual. We will know our students by name and respect the beautiful diversity of humankind that is one of God’s great gifts to us.
At the end of his inaugural address, President McGee reiterated QU’s commitment to pursue truth, beauty and good.
“We at Quincy University will reject any model of higher education in which students can avoid the serious consideration of life’s meaning, or the sense of the sacred, or the problem of evil, or the possibility of the divine.
“At QU, we will pursue truth, beauty, and the good and challenge our students to make hard choices because doing so is right, and it is no less right that we do so when the work is difficult and daunting.”
The university’s Board of Trustees selected McGee after conducting a lengthy nationwide search. McGee was previously provost of the University of Charleston. He also served as chief-of-staff and senior vice president of executive administration, and as a tenured professor and chair of the department of communication, and held faculty positions at higher education institutions in Kentucky, Texas, and Louisiana. He holds a doctorate in communication from The Ohio State University and his bachelor’s and master’s in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
“This is an exciting time at Quincy University as we not only celebrate 160 years of this great institution but also the beginning of Dr. Brian McGee’s tenure as President. We are confident that he is the right leader and will take QU to even greater heights,” said Del Mitchell, chair of the QU Board of Trustees.
Ken Oliver, Ph.D., professor of school and community counseling, convened over the ceremony. Special remarks were given by Lee Enger, Ph.D., assistant vice president of academic affairs; Aloysius Cooper ’20, student representative; Scott Thoele ’80, QU National Alumni Board president; Kyle Moore ’03, city of Quincy’s mayor; and Fr. Tom Nairn ’71, OFM, provincial of the Sacred Heart Province.
Introductory remarks were made by Darrin Hicks, Ph. D., professor of communication studies, University of Denver, before the investiture of the president. Del Mitchell, chair of the Board of Trustees and President Emeritus, Phil Conover ’19, D.H.L. (h.c.), bestowed the presidential regalia and medallion on McGee.
The inauguration included performances by the QU Clarinet Trio and Hawk Express Jazz Band, under the direction of Christine Damm, D.M.A., QU Trumpet Quartet, under the direction of Keith Wiemelt, and the QU Chamber Choir, under the direction of Amy Stollberg, M.A. and accompanied by Laura Kammerer. Fr. John Doctor ’72, OFM, vice president for mission and ministry, delivered the invocation. Bishop Fernand Cheri III, OFM, provided the benediction.
Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University (www.quincy.edu) is celebrating 160 years as a Catholic, co-educational, liberal arts, residential university. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs that integrate liberal arts, active learning, practical experience, and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with each student to design a customized success plan to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. Quincy University’s intercollegiate sports are members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference for men and women. For more information, please contact the Quincy University Office of Community Relations by calling (217) 228-5275. Quincy University. Success by Design.