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Le Moyne Mourns the Passing of Former President Charles J. Beirne, S.J.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For immediate release...) Following a lengthy illness, Charles J. Beirne, S.J., president of Le Moyne College from 2000 to 2007, died on Wednesday, July 14 at Murray-Weigel Hall at Fordham University in New York City. He was 71.

A native of New Jersey, Father Beirne came to Le Moyne from Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, where he served as academic vice president and professor of education from 1996 to 2000. During his seven-year tenure at Le Moyne, he spearheaded a comprehensive five-year strategic plan, new mission statement and worked toward the development of an architectural master plan for the campus.

“The Le Moyne community is deeply saddened by the passing of Father Beirne,” said Le Moyne President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. “He led and served Le Moyne in many important ways. Fr. Beirne’s passion for issues of social justice and service to the most marginalized members of society exemplify values that are at the core of a Le Moyne education and the Jesuit tradition.”

In what was a very courageous act, Father Beirne went to Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador following the brutal assassination of six Jesuits there, along with their housekeeper and her daughter in 1989 by members of the Salvadoran army. He served as academic vice president there from 1989 to 1993.

His other administrative and teaching positions included academic vice president at Santa Clara University in California (1987-90); associate dean at Georgetown University Business School (1984-87); headmaster at Regis High School in New York City (1978-83); and principal of Colegio San Ignacio in Puerto Rico (1972-77).

Father Beirne served on the boards of directors for Syracuse 20/20, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Development Association, the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, the Independent College Fund of New York, and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. In addition, he served on the executive committee of the board of trustees for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu) and as president of the Rafael Landivar University Foundation. He was the author of three books: Jesuit Education and Social Change in El Salvador, Libros de Texto en El Salvador, and The Problem of Americanization in the Catholic Schools of Puerto Rico.

Father Beirne held a doctorate in education from the University of Chicago; bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fordham University; and master’s and licentiate degrees from Woodstock College in Maryland. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969.

He is survived by two sisters, Maureen of Massachusetts and Eileen of Kentucky, a brother, Thomas, of New Jersey, and several nieces and nephews.

At this time, arrangements for calling hours and a funeral Mass are incomplete. A memorial service is being planned at Le Moyne College this fall.

posted on: 7/14/2010