Rev. Gregory F. Lucey SJ, announced his retirement as Chancellor of Spring Hill on February 27.
After dedicating 22 years to Spring Hill as both president and Chancellor, Fr. Lucey has stepped down from his full-time duties at the college. Fr. Lucey came to Spring Hill in 1997 and took on the role of the 37th president of the college. He left the college in 2009 to be head of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Washington. Spring Hill later appointed Fr. Lucey as Chancellor in 2013, but he resumed his duty as president a few months later. He became Chancellor once again in 2015 and remained in that position until recently.
When Fr. Lucey first arrived at Spring Hill, the college’s campus was in great need of an update and had a $50 million deferred maintenance. When speaking of his initial plans for Spring Hill, Fr. Lucey said, “I was looking for a challenge, but I didn’t really realize the significance of the challenge.” During his presidency, Fr. Lucey remarkably revitalized Spring Hill with restorations and developments all over campus. Six new buildings, including three residence halls, and Burke Library were built in addition to renovations of 12 existing buildings.
In addition to the beautification of the campus, Fr. Lucey also helped increase undergraduate enrollment from 850 to over 1300 as well as heighten the college’s reputation among Mobile. He worked to form a lasting relationship between Spring Hill College and its surrounding community. Fr. Lucey described the college as being somewhat isolated from the neighboring area. He says his goal was to “invite Mobile to be part of Spring Hill and for Spring Hill to be a part of Mobile.” The city awarded him Mobilian of the year in 2005 for his improvements to Spring Hill’s campus and his efforts to incorporate the Mobile community into Spring Hill’s campus and vice versa.
Fr. Lucey became an ordained Jesuit priest in 1964. “60 years ago when I was a young Jesuit, at 26 years old, they gave me my first charge to be in charge of. I was working in a boy’s boarding school, and they had me in charge of the freshmen with other young Jesuits. 60 years later, I’m saying ‘I think it’s time for me not to be in charge,’” said Fr. Lucey.
Although he will no longer be Chancellor, Fr. Lucey will remain on Spring Hill’s campus and continue to carry out many of the same duties he did previously such as conducting mission formations, running faculty seminars, holding masses and working with the administration to recruit new faculty. Fr. Lucey facilitates a wisdom group every two weeks with a group of senior students. Ashlyn Adams, a member of his wisdom group, said “Fr. Lucey will always have a mark on Spring Hill College whether he is Chancellor or just working in the background sharing his wisdom with students. His presence at Spring Hill will continue to impact the campus even though he is no longer Chancellor.”