SOUTH BEND - One of the newest residents in Pulte Hall at Holy Cross Hall is also one of the most recognized faces on campus.
It’s Brother John R. Paige, the Holy Cross brother who in January became the college’s fourth president.
Paige and three other Holy Cross brothers are living in the men’s student apartment building. “I wanted to live back on campus with the students,” Paige said.
He and the other three brothers cook for themselves. “We eat together. We pray together. We share the chores of shopping and cleaning,” he said.
Paige will be officially installed as president during at ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday in the Pfeil Center on campus. The event is open to the public.
Holy Cross College has about 450 full-time students. It was founded as a two-year college, but now more than 80 percent of students are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs.
Paige has a goal of growth for the college. “I’d like to see enrollment increase to around 700 or so,” he said, noting current campus buildings could support that enrollment growth.
Holy Cross College sits on about 150 acres. The campus will expand by 14 acres to the south after St. Joseph’s High School closes its current building and moves to a new site on East LaSalle Avenue.
Notre Dame is buying the old high school and nearby property along Indiana 933. The high school parking lot and playing fields to the west originally were owned by the Brothers of Holy Cross, and the brothers are buying that property back.
The 14 acres along Angela will become part of Holy Cross College property. The college likely will create a campus entrance on Angela and continue to use the high school’s former athletic fields for recreation and sports programs, Paige said.
About 50 percent of Holy Cross students live on campus. Although Holy Cross long had a reputation as a commuter school for area residents, that’s no longer the case. Half of the students come from out of state, and only about 25 percent are from the Michiana area.
During his nearly nine months on the job, Paige and other administrators have been working to more closely link residential life, student life, campus ministry and athletics to provide more integrated activities for students. They’re doing things like adding an open microphone night, three-on-three basketball, a flag football team and more social events.
Paige plans to grow the college’s Center for Intergenerational Learning, perhaps providing training for area hospitals and medical care providers to create “senior service navigators” - individuals trained to help the aging baby boomer population seek out medical services and get transportation to medical appointments.
“We’d like to train people who are already working in medical systems to be senior service navigators,” he said. That could be either for college credit or certification, he said.
The college also is developing gerontology as a major.
Holy Cross attracts mainly students of traditional college age. Paige would like to expand the college’s reach to include more working adults and transfer students from Ivy Tech Community College and other institutions.
Working adults can learn things from young adults and vice versa, he said. “It’s a mutual benefit when you have that type of mixture,” he said.
Paige is a 1968 Notre Dame graduate who later earned two master’s degrees elsewhere, then a doctorate in educational policy and leadership at the University of Maryland. Before returning to Holy Cross, he was based in Rome as vicar general of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Staff writer Margaret Fosmoe: