The longest serving college president in New Hampshire, Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., will retire at the end of the 2012 - 2013 academic year.
Every August for the past 24 years, Father Jonathan has welcomed freshmen and their families to campus and every May, he's congratulated seniors, handing diplomas to more than half Saint Anselm's 19,000 alumni.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Father Jonathan has been a steadfast pillar of leadership, lifting up Saint Anselm College. During his presidency the college's academic reputation grew, residence halls and academic spaces were built, and athletics grew in the number of teams as well as facilities.
All that has happened during the past quarter century at Saint Anselm reflects the talents, dedication, creativity, vision and hard work of many, many teachers, monks, administrators, alumni and friends of Saint Anselm. And Father Jonathan is the first to acknowledge that and place the credit for the many good things where it belongs.
But the events of the last 24 years also occurred under the unwavering leadership of Father Jonathan DeFelice. The college community celebrates his service and achievements with events throughout the month of April and in the timeline below:
Father Jonathan helped Saint Anselm College deepen its commitment to excellence in the Catholic, Benedictine tradition, emphasizing academic and extracurricular pursuits in balance with spiritual growth. He expanded the faculty and introduced a number of new majors from Fine Arts to Environmental Science to Communication. Geisel Library doubled its size in 1991 while the Goulet Science Center was built in 1996 providing labs for grant-supported research. A new curriculum was approved in 2013.
A believer in the residential life experience for students, Father Jonathan oversaw a significant expansion of on-campus housing. He supported the building of a football stadium, ice hockey arena, and new athletic fields and in addition to the return of football in 1999, Hawks are up to 20 sports from 14 in 1989.
Making service a priority at Saint Anselm, he served as founding chair of Campus Compact, a state and national initiative focused on service learning. The college's student-led Meelia Center for Student Engagement now manages more than 40 partnerships with non-profits in Greater Manchester, including Kids Café and the Big Brother/Big Sister program. Through the Office of Campus Ministry, nearly 200 Saint Anselm students a year spend their school breaks serving others on trips to such places as Appalachia, inner city Philadelphia and Costa Rica.
Father Jonathan's commitment to civic education and engagement supported the creation of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, which opened in 2001 with a mission to expose all students to the democratic process, and to foster informed debate and understanding. The Institute, which now includes the New Hampshire Political Library, has gained national stature with presidential primary debates and an annual roster of prominent speakers.
Father Jonathan skillfully steered the college through the challenges of the national financial crisis and also into successful fundraising. During his tenure, the college's endowment grew from $9.5 million in 1989 to $85.3 million in 2012 and the annual fund grew from $650,000 to $2.7 million. He founded the President's Society in 1992, and the number of leadership donors has grown to 913 individuals. See the timeline above for additional financial growth details.
- Speeches and Remarks: Father Jonathan Commencement Address (May 18, 2013)
- Speeches and Remarks: Homily for the second Sunday of Easter (April 7, 2013)
- News: "College Celebrates Father Jonathan DeFelice's Retirement" (March 20, 2013)
- News: "College President Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., to Retire" (September 4, 2012)