Xavier Joins the Big East Conference

President Michael J. Graham, S.J., announced today that Xavier is joining a 10-team conference with fellow private schools Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova. The conference will be officially named the Big East on July 1.

“It’s an endorsement of who we are and how we’ve gotten here, as well as where we can go next,” said Graham.

The Big East provides additional exposure and a big boost for admissions, alumni and fundraising efforts across the nation.

“So it’s not just about athletics, it’s about the whole institution and about the institution at its heart, which is an academic place,” Graham said.

It’s a very exciting time for Xavier’s broad-based 18-sport athletic program, which has sent eight different teams to NCAA postseason championships in recent years: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and women’s volleyball.

Presidents of the new Big East member schools, including Graham, gathered in New York Wednesday to announce a series of seminal developments that will help shape the basketball-focused conference, including an unprecedented partnership with Fox Sports that will grant the network exclusive broadcast rights.

Fox Sports and its Fox Sports 1 Network is acquiring television rights to all Big East game action as part of a 12-year contract. Under the broadcast partnership, Fox Sports will own television rights to a wide range of marquee Big East basketball games, including the annual Big East conference tournament.

The Big East Conference officially commences operations on July 1. Each of the inaugural members are full conference participants starting in the 2013-2014 academic year. Each school is competing in all of the sports it offers today. The Big East Tournament continues to call Madison Square Garden its home, and the new conference assumes an existing lease agreement that extends to 2026.

The Big East was formed in 1979 to celebrate the student-athlete and showcase some of the nation’s greatest collegiate basketball programs at schools with rich academic traditions. The new conference marks a return to the Big East’s roots as a basketball-centric conference working in the best interests of student-athletes.

Xavier’s men’s basketball program has made two NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances (2004 and 2008) in addition to three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances (2009, 2010 and 2012) in the last 10 years. XU has been to seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments and 11 of the last 13. The women’s basketball program has made two NCAA Elite Eight appearances as well (2001 and 2010) and has made five of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. Men’s soccer advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament this past fall.

Xavier, which is ranked 11th in the nation in the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate report at 97 percent, is excited to align itself with private schools that share a like commitment to academics and athletics. Xavier had 14 programs at 100 percent in the latest NCAA GSR report. In men’s basketball, XU has graduated each of the last 88 players that have played as seniors, a streak which dates back to 1986.

Xavier has been a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference for 18 years, beginning with the 1995-96 school year. Previously, Xavier was a member of the MCC (now known as the Horizon League) from 1979-80 through 1994-95. For a brief three-year period, 1983-86, Xavier’s women’s sports competed in the North Star Conference.

New York-based senior executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associate is conducting the search for the new Big East’s first commissioner, seeking an aggressive and innovative commissioner to shepherd the conference to continued success and enhance its history of excellence in a wide variety of collegiate team sports.

Xavier’s graduate programs are ranked among the best for 2014

The 2014 rankings are being published in April

Eight of Xavier’s graduate programs are included in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools, including seven that maintain their rankings from last year and one additional program. Highlights of the rankings will be published in the Best Graduate Schools 2014 edition book, available April 9, 2013.

The report lists several programs in the Williams College of Business including the Executive MBA program, up from 23rd to 19th this year, the MBA with a concentration in international business, up from 22nd to 19th this year, and the part-time MBA, up from 87th to 79th this year. The MBA with a concentration in finance is newly ranked this year at 22nd.

Also included are the University’s health services administration program, which remains at 32nd, the occupational therapy degree program which remains at 83rd, the Master of Science in Nursing, which remains at 99th, and Xavier’s one doctoral program in clinical psychology which remains at 145th.

The Best Graduate Schools 2014 includes essential, detailed statistical information on more than 1,250 programs nationwide.

For more information about Best Graduate Schools, visit www.usnews.com/grad, and to learn more about the methodology and data research, visit www.usnews.com/gradmeth.

Mainstream news outlets discuss the election of the new pope

Stories focus on Bergoglio, the Jesuit order and his choice of the name Francis

Stories about the election of Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope offer a wide perspective on the unexpected choice of a Jesuit and his choice of the name Francis:

Xavier’s Jesuit community share their thoughts on the election of a Jesuit pope

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., of Argentina was elected the new pope on Wednesday, March 13

On Wednesday, March 13, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope, taking the name Pope Francis I. He is the first Jesuit, first Latin American and the first pope to take the name Francis. Members of Xavier’s Jesuit community offered their thoughts on the election of a fellow Jesuit to the papacy.

Michael J. Graham, S.J. “When I heard the news that a Jesuit brother of mine would be the next Pope, I was completely stunned—as were many people, it seems, from whom I began to hear very quickly!  But that surprise yielded quickly to a profound sense of gratitude. That the Holy Spirit should choose a man from the tradition of Ignatius Loyola to lead the Church must be a deep consolation for anyone and everyone associated with any Jesuit ministry throughout the world. That Pope Francis is a Latin American Jesuit, I have no doubt that he will bring a particular care and concern for the poor and marginalized to his Pontificate, for that sensibility has been an overwhelming gift of Latin American Jesuits worldwide.”

John Heim, S.J. “Of course, the election of a new pope presumes the Holy Spirit is alive and well and looking to the good of God’s people. In a specific way this election gives the Church a greater sense of its universality. I believe all the popes previous were European. The personal lifestyle of Francis I gives credence to Vatican II’s imperative that the Church identify itself with the poor.”

J. Leo Klein, S.J. “I am very happy with the choice of our new Bishop of Rome, Francis I, for many reasons. He comes from a part of our world which represents the true scope of the universal Church. Also, since he is rooted in Ignatian, Jesuit formation, I feel an immediate sense of communion with him. God bless him in the many challenges ahead.”