John Carroll University’s president, the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J. was the special guest at the Student Union meeting on Tuesday, April 23. He spoke about the successes of the past school year, and what he is looking forward to for John Carroll University’s future. The Carroll News also sat down with Niehoff to catch up with him.
Niehoff expressed excitement about the prevalence of JCU alum in the NFL. He joked, “I’m not used to hearing on ESPN, ‘that football school in Cleveland, John Carroll.’”
In light of JCU alumni making their mark in the NFL, Niehoff wants to work on bringing some of these alums back to campus, starting with Don Shula. He said he has put Mark McCarthy, vice president for student affairs, and head football coach Tom Arth in charge of this undertaking. On London Fletcher, 1998 JCU graduate and linebacker for the Washington Redskins, Niehoff said, “I can’t imagine he will be playing for many more years – as many as he can, I’m hoping – but then, I expect that we can have him here on a regular basis.”
Niehoff said he has corresponded directly with 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, all JCU graduates.
“I congratulated all of them and I said, ‘You know, we’re going to love to have you back at Carroll.’ At this stage, it’s too early to say when we will schedule that, but we’ll get around to it,” Niehoff said.
Niehoff also expressed his excitement about the renovation of Murphy Hall, which he called, “the largest construction project of my time as president of John Carroll.” He said he hopes the renovation will increase JCU’s housing stock and make it a more attractive campus for prospective students.
One of the new ideas Niehoff discussed at the meeting was a joint agreement with Ohio University that will allow JCU students to go directly into OU’s new osteopathic medical degree program at the Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital. He said that OU is starting a new section at South Pointe, and JCU will have about a third of the enrollment in the first year.
“This is the start of a cooperative agreement and I expect many more,” he said.
On staying in the loop with happenings at JCU, Niehoff said he regularly reads The Carroll News, and joked that he has “his sources,” who he keeps up with via email. Despite his expressed desire to be more connected with the University, Niehoff said he does not yet have a Twitter account.
“I have to be disciplined, because I can’t suck up my time,” he said. “I know a few presidents who do [have Twitter]. Unless we’re going to hire a staff to do that for me, I can’t see that as a value.”
Niehoff also touched on one of the hottest topics around campus – the prospect of Campus Safety Services becoming armed. According to Niehoff, there will not be a definite decision until the early fall of this year.
“I don’t want to make a decision over the summer when no one is around,” he said. “We’re still working out the logistics, [such as] if we were to do this, what would it take?”
The president expressed his pride in all that JCU and its students have accomplished recently.
“I’m excited about the positioning of John Carroll in the region, and getting the recognition we deserve for the quality of our students, the quality of their service, the quality of our educational outcomes and the difference we make in the region,” Niehoff said.