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Franciscan University President to Step Down at End of Academic Year

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Franciscan University of Steubenville announced today that Father Terence Henry, TOR, will leave the office of president at the end of the academic year in May.

“Being president of Franciscan University for a single day would have been a huge honor and one of the most memorable moments in my life, but to have been entrusted with guiding its mission since 2000 is an awesome privilege and blessing for which I am thankful to God,” said Father Henry.

Inaugurated on October 4, 2000, Father Henry succeeded Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, as the fifth president of the University. Since then, Father Henry has led Franciscan University through more than 12 years of milestones including the most successful fundraising campaign in University history, the creation of a new liberal arts core curriculum, an increase by 389 students in undergraduate enrollment, the establishment of the Institute of Bioethics, the Catechetical Institute, and the Center for Leadership, the expansion of campus acreage to more than double, and the reintroduction of varsity athletics.

“When I became president, our philosophy and theology departments were already world renowned, and they have continued to grow through the founding of our Bioethics Institute and Catechetics Institute. Now, other academic disciplines have begun attracting national attention, especially in the sciences with faculty and student research on seizure disorders and rare diseases,” Father Henry said. “These priorities emerged as the University asked itself how we could best serve the needs of the Catholic Church. I am confident that Franciscan University’s next president will continue to lead from the heart of the Church.”

Father Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, chairman of Franciscan University’s Board of Trustees, explained the timing of the change saying that within religious life, leaders are rotated periodically as a matter of course.

“Being a university president has become an increasingly difficult task. With presidents serving only six years on average, we are grateful to Father Henry for giving 13 years in generous service to Franciscan University,” Father Polichnowski said.

Father Polichnowski, the minister provincial of the Franciscan Friars, TOR, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which founded Franciscan University in 1946, also said the next president will be chosen from among the priests and brothers of the 139-member province.

“The Board of Trustees will begin the selection process immediately, and we expect the new president to start in June. Father Henry will receive his new assignment at that time,” Father Polichnowski said.

Father Henry, who just returned from his annual trip to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life, will close out his tenure with a busy semester including speeches on religious liberty at two Legatus chapter meetings. He has also accepted an invitation to give a major address at an international meeting of young Catholics discussing how to renew society through the Gospel at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

“As I’ve traveled throughout the world, I frequently hear about the importance of Franciscan University in the life of the Church and I’ve seen it firsthand as I’ve met alumni serving in dioceses, parishes, and bringing their faith into every career and vocation imaginable,” Father Henry said. “It’s humbling to witness how beautifully they and our faculty, staff, students, and benefactors live out the Lord’s call to St. Francis to ‘Go, rebuild my Church.’”

He added, “This University and all those I’ve worked with and come to know as president have a special place in my heart. I will carry Franciscan University and all those who serve its tremendous educational mission in my prayers.”

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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