Fr. James C. Carter, S. J., former Loyola University New Orleans president Named pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish
Loyola press release - June 15, 2001
(New Orleans)—The Rev. James C. Carter, S. J., chancellor of Loyola University New Orleans and past president of the university, has been named pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, one of New Orleans' oldest churches, by Most Reverend Francis B. Schulte, Archbishop of New Orleans. The appointment is effective August 1, 2001. The parish, founded by the Jesuit Order in 1857, is located at 130 Baronne Street. Fr. Carter will follow the well-loved Fr. Harry Tompson, who passed away this year.
Carter was the longest tenured president of Loyola University, serving for over 21 years. His career at Loyola spans more than 41 years. Carter is also recognized as a theologian, nuclear physicist and civic leader. He has served in his current post, as chancellor, since 1995. As chancellor, Fr. Carter has been involved in advancement work for Loyola, including working with alumni, donors and the community. He has played an active role in fundraising for the university. In addition, he has conducted numerous spiritual retreats.
Carter received his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. He also holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Spring Hill College, a master's degree from Fordham University and a S.T.L. from Woodstock College. His field of research is nuclear and elementary particle theories. He has published many articles in the fields of nuclear physics and in theology.
Reflecting a varied career, Carter has received numerous honors and awards. In 1974, he received the Palmes Academiques, and the same year, as an alumnus of St. Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, he was elected to the school's Hall of Fame. Carter has been honored with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith's Torch of Liberty Award in 1983. In 1994, he received the Whitney M. Young Award, presented by the Urban League. Loyola presented Carter an Honorary Doctorate in 1995.
As a civic activist, he has served as division director of the United Way, a director at New Orleans Public Service, Inc., and as president of the Metropolitan Area Committee. Carter served as Interim Executive Director of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in 1996 and he is currently co-chair of the New Orleans region of the board of the National Conference for Community and Justice.
Carter has a long personal history at Loyola. He came to the university first as a student in 1944. He returned in 1960 to teach physics as an instructor, later becoming an assistant and associate professor of physics. He was appointed provost and academic vice president in 1970 and in 1974, was named the fourteenth president of university. After serving the university for the longest period of any previous Loyola president, Carter announced his retirement in the summer of 1994. He made the transition on August 1, 1995, into the newly created position of chancellor. Carter will continue teaching the course on science and religion at Loyola, one of the most popular courses at the university.
Under Carter's presidential tenure of vision and persistence, Loyola flourished. Undergraduate, graduate and Institute of Ministry extension classes saw a steady increase in enrollment. A large percentage of students now come from all over the United States as well as over 48 countries. Carter has remarked that he is most proud, however, of the "building of a first-rate faculty which helped to improve the student body enormously." The current faculty-student ratio is 12-to-1 and over 90 percent have doctorate or terminal degrees.
The physical campus changed as well. In 1976, the science facility was renamed to honor J. Edgar Monroe, the school's most generous benefactor. The successful completion of the university's first capital campaign for the construction of the Communications/ Music Building, the Recreational Sports and Athletics Complex, the acquisition of the Broadway campus and relocation of the law school, and the purchase of Mercy Academy were all achieved under Fr. Carter's presidency. Perhaps his finest accomplishment for the future was the laying of the groundwork for the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Memorial Library, which opened to students in 1999.
Fr. Carter and another Loyola Jesuit have followed parallel career paths, that is, going from the Loyola presidency to serve as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church. Fr. Albert H.Biever, S.J., the university's first president and the Jesuit credited with founding and establishing Loyola University in its current location, was also the first pastor of today's Immaculate Conception Church. In 1904, Fr. Biever, who was also a scientist, began his work at Loyola and obtained a charter for the university from the state of Louisiana in 1912.
Biever left Loyola in 1914, on a mission assignment, to return to the city in 1921. As pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, he supervised the construction of the new church building, from 1921 to 1931. The new church was built in the style of the old one and on the same site, on Baronne Street.
Upon announcement of his new position, Fr. Carter said, "I am thrilled with this assignment. After much reflection and prayer, I believe this is an ideal opportunity to continue to build on the work Fr. Tompson started and to provide New Orleans with a vital downtown parish. He served the needs of the homeless and other underserved groups in the city."
As pastor at Immaculate Conception and in the spirit of Fr. Tompson's legacy, Carter will continue work on a new project the parish has recently put into place. The parish, working with the Jesuits and a group of lay persons, are turning a closed furniture store into a free-tuition Catholic school. Children from families who live below the poverty level are the targeted students for the school.
"Once that work is on firm footing, I would like to explore the possibility of working with adult literacy. As a university president I met people of all faiths and Immaculate Conception would be an ideal place to foster ecumenical dialogue," Carter said.
Based on the heritage of Catholic Jesuit higher education in Louisiana since 1849, Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. Today, the university serves approximately 5,550 undergraduate and graduate students. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.