One on One with Dr. Joseph G. Marina S.J: New Provost of Le Moyne


Le Moyne recently announced they have made Joseph G. Marina S.J., Ph.D. as the new Provost and Vice President of academic affairs. Dr. Marina will be replacing Dr. Thomas Brockelman, who has been serving as the interim provost since 2014. Previously, Dr. Marina has acted as the associate provost and interim chair of the department of education at Le Moyne, and has also held positions at Providence College, Montclair State University, St. John’s University, Canisius College, and Regis University. Currently he is a trustee for both Regis University and Le Moyne, and is serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. Dr. Marina will begin as provost of Le Moyne in Aug. 2016. I had the pleasure of talking with Fr. Marina about his past experiences and excitement of  returning to Le Moyne.


The Dolphin: How excited are you to start in your new role here at Le Moyne in August?

Joseph Marina: Extremely! Returning to Le Moyne this summer will be a homecoming for me as I have served here three times previously: 1) first as an assistant to the president under Fr. Charlie Beirne; 2) next, as associate provost and interim chair of the education department during a period of Jesuit formation known as Regency; and 3) most recently as a member of the board of trustees since 2009. I love Le Moyne and I’m eager to begin my new role.

TD: Where did you attend college?

JM: As an undergraduate, I attended St. John’s University in New York, class of 1986. I also have graduate degrees in theology and education from Boston College (2012) and Fordham University (1999) respectively.

TD: What were some of the previous jobs you have had being named provost of Le Moyne?

JM: As a Jesuit, I have served as a hospital and nursing home chaplain, youth minister, missionary (Kingston, Jamaica), social services assistant, deacon, associate pastor and pastor. Prior to joining the Society of Jesus, I worked at three universities over the course of 18 years, all in administrative and teaching positions.  

TD:  You were previously associate provost and interim chair of the Department of Education at Le Moyne. How are your current duties going to be different or similar starting in August as provost?

JM: Serving as associate provost under Dr. LeMura (who was provost at the time) was a wonderful experience. She invited my input and assistance on a variety of important projects. My new responsibilities will, of course, be wider in scope than they were before and I will be working more closely with the other members of the College’s leadership team, the deans and faculty, and hopefully student leaders as well. Also, I expect to become more involved in local outreach to schools, businesses, and other industries that have or will have strategic ties to Le Moyne. It all seems a bit daunting at the moment, but I am truly looking forward to the experience.

TD:  What changes do you hope to bring to Le Moyne as provost?

JM: There are many things about Le Moyne that I hope will never change, especially its reputation for a faculty and staff that is genuinely interested, and even passionate, about the individual success of students. In Jesuit language, this kind of quality is known as “cura personalis” and it is something that Le Moyne does very well. It’s one of our hallmarks. As for what I hope to bring:  I would like to see the College become more widely known across the country so that we can begin to attract students from more diverse areas. I will place a strong emphasis on the expansion of partnerships and collaborations with other colleges/universities and secondary schools, especially those that are Jesuit in affiliation. I want to support the deans and faculty in building a more structured culture of assessment, which is so important in higher education today. And I would like to work collaboratively with those concerned to study and respond to the problem of poverty in Syracuse and Central New York. These are just a few examples of my priorities at present.

TD: What do you like most about Le Moyne?

JM: Without a doubt, the seriousness with which the mission is taken by the faculty, students, and other populations of the College. Le Moyne has stood out for years as an impressive role model for other schools by the countless ways it integrates its mission and reflects that integration outward. From service learning to the new college-wide strategic plan, Le Moyne is a mission-driven college. I can easily imagine St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, smiling broadly at what Le Moyne has accomplished and continues to do.

TD: Currently you are a pastor at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City, can you tell us a little bit about your current experiences there?

JM: The Church of St Francis Xavier is another one of those mission-driven places. It was established in the middle of the 19th century and the current structure, standing on 16th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan, opened in 1882. The Jesuits have been here since the doors first opened and I hope they always will be. Xavier is a progressive parish, paying special attention to populations that have been moved to the margins over the years (e.g. LGBT Catholics, divorced Catholics, and people who are suffering from hunger and homelessness). We conduct the largest soup kitchen on Manhattan island, which is a regrettable cause for boasting. The parish enjoys the support and activity of over 20 different ministry groups and has over 5,000 households in its membership. I am responsible for leading and caring for Xavier in all of its aspects and it’s a job I recommend highly.