Faustino M. Cruz, S.M., a distinguished teacher-scholar, pastoral leader, and administrator, has been appointed the new dean of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE). He began his new role on July 1.
“In Father Cruz we have found both a scholar and a priest with a deep commitment to pastoral care,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “He brings to the dean’s position an incisive mind and a steadying presence. Therefore, I expect the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education to flourish and grow under his leadership.”
Cruz previously served as associate dean of academic affairs and associate professor of practical theology and leadership in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, a Jesuit Catholic university in Seattle’s First Hill and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. He taught courses in U.S. immigrant theologies, transformational leadership, theological reflection, and educational ministry.
Cruz, who has more than 25 years of experience in teaching and mentoring, also helped to train pastoral ministers, therapists, religious educators, and other leaders from culturally diverse ecumenical and interreligious backgrounds for practices within and beyond their communities.
Cruz comes to GRE on the heels of its recent accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) for its pastoral counseling and spiritual care program.
He said he hopes to learn about the unique needs and concerns of the Fordham community, and to continue to build on the school’s success within that framework.
“I look forward to leading a community of teacher-scholar-practitioners that passionately educates our students for solidarity, service, and justice,” he said.
Cruz was executive vice president and academic dean of the Franciscan School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley for six years, serving as its chief academic officer and chief operations officer.
He is vice president of the International Academy of Practical Theology, a member of the Committee on Race and Ethnicity in Theological Education of the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada, and a public member of the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.
Cruz taught at several institutions, including the Franciscan School of Theology in California, the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion at Wabash College in Indiana, and the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College.
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Cruz migrated to the United States in 1982. He was ordained a priest of the U.S. Province of the Society of Mary (Marists) in 1988, and spent over two decades ministering in migrant and refugee communities in the United States at parish, diocesan, and national levels.
As a scholar, he has presented research at several international events in countries around the world, including South Africa, Germany, and Korea. He speaks Spanish, French, and Tagalog, and shares a deep commitment to global education.
“My diverse professional, cultural, and pastoral background allows me to reflect on life [and]the human condition through various lenses,” he said. “As dean, these lenses enable me to become more keenly aware of contexts, relationships, processes, and rituals that inform discernment and decision-making.”
Cruz earned a doctorate in theology and education from Boston College, a master of arts in theology from the Graduate Theological Union, a master of divinity from the Franciscan School of Theology, and a bachelor of science from the University of the Philippines.
He succeeds C. Colt Anderson, Ph.D., who served as the dean of GRE since July 2012.