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Coverage Dates

1942 to present


Records of the activities of Fairfield University Rectors and Presidents from 1942 to the present, with the exception of Rev. William C. McInnes, S.J. (1964-1973) and Dr. Lynn Babington (interim President in 2017). Records of Fr. McInnes’ administration are instead included in the Papers of Rev. William McInnes, S.J. The nature and amount of material in this collection varies considerably from administration to administration, but typically includes inauguration materials, congratulation certificates, publicity materials, and/or correspondence (notably including letters by and from Rev. John McEleney, S.J. and Rev. James Dolan, S.J, that relate to Fairfield’s founding and early development). The collection also includes records of the 2016 Presidential Search Committee, whose work resulted in the selection of Rev. Jeffrey von Arx.


As a Jesuit university, Fairfield was originally led by Jesuit priests selected by the Society of Jesus’ New England Province. Fairfield’s first five Presidents (Rev. John J. McEleney, S.J. (1942-1944); Rev. James H. Dolan, S.J. (1944-1951); Rev. Joseph D. FitzGerald, S.J. (1951-1958) Rev. James E. FitzGerald, S.J.(1958-1964); and Rev. William C. McInnes, S.J.(1964-1973) were appointed in this manner, and each also served as Rector, or religious superior, of the local Jesuit community. During Fr. McInnes’ term, Fairfield underwent the process of “separate incorporation” for the University and its Jesuit community. In accordance with the new system, Fr. McInnes was elected President by the Board of Trustees in 1970, and ceased to serve as Rector. Subsequent Jesuit Presidents of Fairfield (Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald, S.J., 1973-1979; Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., 1979-2004, and Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., 2004-2016) were similarly chosen by the Board. In 2016, Fairfield selected its first lay President, Dr. Mark R. Nemec. For short biographies of each President, please see the complete finding aid.


4.8 linear feet; 16 boxes


undetermined; extant in the collection as of 2003

Processed By

Ed Dacey, Ann Munnelly, Katherine Bonamo

Last Updated



Finding Aid


Fairfield University

Place of Publication

Fairfield, Conn.


Finding Aids


Fairfield University Archives and Special Collections



Records of the President’s Office