Loyola celebrates the life of long-time Trustee Rev. Gerard Reedy, S.J.
A Jesuit priest and academic celebrated for his dedication to students and his decades of exceptional leadership, Loyola University Maryland Trustee Rev. Gerard Reedy, S.J., died March 11. He was 76.
Fr. Reedy devoted nearly 40 years of his career to teaching and leadership at Fordham University. He arrived as an assistant professor of English in 1973 and later served as chair of the English department. He moved into the administration in 1986 as dean of Fordham College, followed by roles as dean of arts and sciences faculty and vice president for academic affairs before being named president of The College of the Holy Cross in 1994.
That was the same year his friend, Rev. Harold Ridley, S.J., became president of Loyola—and Fr. Reedy became a member of Loyola’s Board of Trustees.
“Fr. Ridley would say of Jerry that he was one of the few administrators that he was aware of who still kept a very active research agenda,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola. “Fr. Reedy was a well-regarded scholar of 18th Century British literature and he did a lot of work on the literature around sermons at that time. He was a very engaged scholar.”
While Fr. Linnane and Fr. Reedy were at Holy Cross together, they co-taught an interdisciplinary honors program seminar on theology, literature, and film during the fall of 1997, "Moral Weakness." Fr. Reedy returned to Fordham in 1998 and taught English for another 17 years.
“He was a great teacher, and he was teaching right up until he died,” Fr. Linnane said.
A prolific writer, Fr. Reedy authored numerous articles published in academic journals and wrote two books, The Bible and Reason: Anglicans and Scripture in Late Seventeenth-Century England and Robert South (1634-1716): An Introduction to His Life and Sermons.
After Fr. Ridley’s death in 2005, Fr. Reedy was a member of the search committee that selected Fr. Linnane as Loyola’s president.
“At Loyola he was extremely generous,” Fr. Linnane said. “He was always very engaged, always very interested. He served on the academic affairs committee for the Board of Trustees, and he was a stickler for academic quality. I think sometimes he might have pushed the vice presidents a little harder than they would like to be pushed. He was great supporter of new initiatives, new opportunities.”
Although Fr. Reedy’s service on the Board of Trustees was interrupted when he rotated off the Board and stepped down for health reasons, he had returned to the Board and was actively serving as a Trustee at the time of his death.
“He was extremely popular with the members of the Board because he was very funny,” Fr. Linnane said. “And he had a huge capacity for friendship. He had so many friends.”
Fr. Reedy’s other board memberships included Regis Higher School, St. Peter’s College, Rosemont College, Georgetown University, and the Colleges of Worcester Consortium.
Fr. Reedy earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.A. and M.A. from Fordham University, and a Ph.L. and B.D. from Woodstock College. He graduated from Regis High School in New York City in 1957.
When Fr. Linnane was studying at Yale University, he met Fr. Reedy, who was the academic vice president at Fordham. Fr. Reedy traveled to New Haven to encourage Fr. Linnane to come and teach at Fordham.
“I ended up going to Holy Cross, and then he was named president there,” Fr. Linnane said. “He called and said, ‘You made the right choice after all.’”
Over the years Fr. Linnane has turned to Fr. Reedy for advice.
“He really was a mentor to me as a priest, as a teacher, and as an administrator,” Fr. Linnane said. “I’ve talked things over with him a million times, but I remember when I became president, he said to me, ‘Buy good shoes because you’re going to be standing at receptions a lot.’ I went into Johnstone and Murphy and bought some black lace-up shoes and they were $300. Eleven years later those shoes are perfectly fine. I have other pairs too, but I have that same pair.”
Fordham University Church (Bronx, N.Y.)
Friday, March 18
3-5 p.m., 7-9 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial:
Fordham University Church
Saturday, March 19
Fr. Linnane will deliver the homily