Burns vows to maintain Saint Mary’s momentum in first visit as president

Published 7:36 am Friday, July 13, 2018

The Saint Mary’s University campus on Wednesday got its first good look at the Rev. James P. Burns, the school’s newly minted president and the first priest to hold the position in nearly a century.

Burns, who comes to Saint Mary’s after a stint at Boston College in Massachusetts, praised his new university and the broader community in a speech at Saint Mary’s Science and Learning Center, saying that he feels at home.

In a way, he is home.

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Burns, a native of St. Paul, said he’s eager to connect with faculty, students and community members in a part of the country he knows so well.

“I’m looking forward to working with you to figure out … how we can expand our mission of academic excellence, rigor and character development,” he told the assembled crowd. “I’d always tell my students that our degrees are not just for ourselves. They’re to give away to others. They lift the community up the more generous we are and the more we give back.”