Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D., was formally installed Friday afternoon as the fourth president of Hilbert College.
Brophy pleased the crowd in the William E. Swan Auditorium on Hilbert’s campus playing two pieces on the piano, the first he dedicated to his wife, Tara, and the second accompanied by a gospel choir. He spoke to the challenges and opportunities Hilbert needs to embrace under his leadership.
“We have both the honor and the responsibility to sustain and deepen our Franciscan charism for all we serve,” Brophy said. “We have the opportunity to adopt and embrace a 21st-century higher education business model. One that will ensure the vitality of our college for decades to come.”
He encouraged the campus community to embrace the mission of Hilbert College.
“Within that mission we are now forging a transformative story. One that is true, one that inspires, one that builds upon the past in such a way as to assure a relevant future,” Brophy said.
He looked down the road to the future, and across the road for wisdom and inspiration in the decisions that lie ahead.
“In those times of discernment, and there will be many, all we have to do is cross the road and visit with the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph,” Brophy said. “Their wisdom about Hilbert’s past, the decisions they had to make to adapt to the times, and their laser focus on serving those in need. They are our inspiration.”
The Rev. Michael Sajda, OFM Conv., chair of the college’s board of trustees, and Sister Marcia Ann Fiutko, FSSJ, officially installed Brophy as president by placing Hilbert College’s presidential medallion around his neck.
“The vitality of our intellectual community is being infused with high energy and exciting plans for our future,” Sajda said. “Our mission and sense of shared purpose are being renewed. With today’s installation, we gather to honor and pledge our support to you, Michael, and, together, we will achieve success.”
An installation Mass of thanksgiving immediately preceded the installation ceremony and a reception outside the auditorium immediately followed.
Installation activities began during the week leading up to the installation, beginning on Oct. 3 with the college’s annual Peace Walk in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Other events included employee service recognition awards, the Transitus Commemoration, blessing of the animals, and a heritage tour led by Sister Sharon Goodremote.
Brophy took office in January of this year. He had served the previous 12 years as president of two private, Catholic institutions. He came to Hilbert from Benedictine University, where he served as president since 2015. Brophy served as president of Marymount California University for nine years (2006-15).
Brophy has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis (2006) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Fine Arts in writing (2000) from Long Island University, a bachelor’s in music (1984), and a master’s in English (1990) from The College of Saint Rose.
A Fulbright recipient, Brophy has taught and conducted research in Europe and Cuba. He is also an accomplished filmmaker. Brophy has written, directed and edited three films that screened at film festivals, theaters, museums, universities and foundations throughout the U.S., Cuba and Europe. He has had screenplays selected to the Independent Feature Project Market in New York. As a musician, Brophy has accompanied gospel choirs and performed with students and faculty in classical, pop and jazz settings.
He and his wife, Tara, have three children: Sullivan (a graduate student at Benedictine), Myles (an undergraduate student the University of Southern California), and Ella (a sophomore at East Aurora HS).