GROVE CITY – Paul J. McNulty was formally installed as the ninth president of Grove City College on Monday.
McNulty, class of 1980 and the fourth alumnus to hold the office, spoke about the college’s future in terms of a moral duty to continue the work of generations of leaders who built Grove City College on the ideals of faith and freedom, and a conviction that “nothing happens without God’s will.”
“We don’t know if our plans are God’s plans, if our wants are God’s wants, but be assured God’s plans will prevail and they are good,” McNulty said. “The future of Grove City College is in very good hands. Not my hands. His hands.”
McNulty, 57, is an accomplished attorney with a long career in the public and private sectors. A former U.S. deputy attorney general, federal prosecutor and congressional counsel, he is of counsel with the global law firm Baker & MacKenzie and an acknowledged expert on corporate ethics.
The inaugural theme – “For Faith. For Freedom. For the Future.” – was reinforced throughout the ceremony, with guest speakers John D. Ashcroft, former attorney general and U.S. senator, and Kenneth W. Starr, president and chancellor of Baylor University, offering their thoughts before President McNulty’s remarks.
Speaking on faith, Starr said that America’s great colleges and universities were all founded as Christian schools but had wandered far from that path over the years. Grove City College, he said, was founded to “proclaim Christ” and has remained steadfast. Today, the college is “a nationally and internationally known beacon” of Christian scholarship, Starr said.
“The light here continues to shine very brightly, and through God’s grace and Paul’s humble leadership it will continue to shine brightly,” he concluded.
Ashcroft, who led the Justice Department while McNulty was a federal prosecutor, discussed the centrality of freedom to American existence and the general lack of understanding of what freedom truly is. Grove City College teaches students that freedom is not without responsibility or consequences. It forges graduates, like McNulty, who understand that freedom is not a license to “just do it” but a mandate to act with a purpose.
He hailed McNulty as a servant leader. “You are in for a wonderful leadership experience,” Ashcroft said.
The ceremony in Harbison Chapel on campus was attended by students, faculty, alumni and others, including three former college presidents: Charles S. MacKenzie (1971-1991); John H. Moore (1996-2003); and Richard G. Jewell ’67 (2003-2014.)