Fr. Hightower arrived at Gonzaga in fall 2008 after having taught at Gonzaga Prep (2004-07) and Bellarmine Prep (2007-08) in Tacoma, Wash. Gonzaga students were abuzz upon learning of Fr. Hightower’s departure. Twitter, the social media utility, became an outlet for many students to share their goodbyes to the popular Gonzaga priest.
May graduate Greg Talbott tweeted, “Late to the party, but can’t believe Fr. Hightower is leaving. One of the people who makes GU what it is. #PartyWithIntergrity.” Many others shared their favorite memories of Fr. Hightower and wished him well.
From the widely tweeted and discussed poster of him that appeared in The Gonzaga Bulletin in March with the words “I Gave Up Losing for Lent,” to his spot on the bench for the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, Fr. Hightower has become a most visible presence at Gonzaga over the years.
Junior Lauren Abrams said she and many others students would miss Fr. Hightower in the coming school year.
“Having Fr. Hightower in my freshman dorm was a really positive experience. He was a friendly, helpful Jesuit to have on campus. He really exemplified the Gonzaga spirit, and I think I can speak for the student body when I say we will all miss him next year.”
Sean Brennan, also a junior, called Fr. Hightower “a remarkable Jesuit leader who captured the true meaning of what being a Zag is all about.”
Michelle Wheatley, who served as assistant director of University Ministry the past two years, was appointed acting director. A decision on the appointment of a new director is expected this summer.