The Inauguration…A Family Affair

From Fr. Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., Inauguration Archives

October 9, 1974

On Oct. 9, 1974, Harry Magnuson, president of the Board of Trustees, presented Fr. Bernard J. Coughlin with the Presidential Chain of Office. Photo courtesy of Gonzaga University Archives.

On Sunday, October 20th, at 1 p.m. in the Kennedy Pavilion, Gonzaga University will inaugurate her twenty-third president, Father Bernard John Coughlin.

The word inauguration in our vocabulary evokes an image of the President-elect of the United States of America swearing to uphold the constitution. The scene is impressive and the responsibilities are grave. In a university inauguration, although the trappings may be impressive (and perhaps to some, out of date), and although the gravity of the charge and the weight of responsibility are given full emphasis, still in all, the whole purpose of a university inauguration is to welcome the new president as the new leader of the academic community. In our context the academic community is that very special educational enterprise which we call the Gonzaga family. By means of the various inaugural events we want to tell others in our city, state, and nation, of our good fortune in having been able to attract a man of Father Coughlin’s stature to accept the responsibilities of the presidency. Further, we want to communicate to Father Coughlin that he has a faculty, student body, and administrative staff that he can be proud of, a family that will pull together in order to overcome the challenges that the future is sure to bring to our community. We want to demonstrate that we have a faculty that is gifted and generous with its gifts; a student body dedicated to the pursuit of truth; an administrative staff loyal in its support of the goals and objectives of the University as articulated by the President.

The inaugural events…have been the result of much planning and have required the coordination of all the segments of the University community. Although many people from outside our university family will share in these events, the inauguration itself is a family affair. It is our testimony to the values that make up the essential components of the Gonzaga way of life. Thus our participation in these events will prove to all, both within the University and outside it, that in spite of the changes that time has brought about and in spite of the differences that emerge from time to time on our campus, we are one in our belief that Gonzaga is a very special kind of teaching-learning institution, that we are indeed a very special family.