Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., has served as president of Saint Anselm College since 1989. A member of the Benedictine community that founded and governs the college, Father Jonathan is also a graduate of the college's Class of 1969. Before becoming president, he served his alma mater as a faculty member and in a number of administrative roles.
Under his leadership, the college has embarked on ambitious planning and development programs to strengthen its highly-regarded liberal arts reputation as New England's third oldest Catholic college. Father Jonathan is a passionate advocate for Saint Anselm's mission that seeks to balance the academic, spiritual, and extracurricular lives of its students, while graduating men and women who go on to lead creative and generous lives.
A proponent of civic engagement and community service, Father Jonathan was the founding chair of Campus Compact New Hampshire, a state and national initiative focused on service learning. Through corporate partnerships and civic engagement efforts, he also remains committed to broadening the college's public outreach. Saint Anselm's Meelia Center for Community Service and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics are two examples of visionary initiatives that were founded under his leadership and continue to flourish today.
Father Jonathan has served on the board of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, as a division chair for United Way, and is currently a founding member of the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Forum on Higher Education and a member of the New England Council. His is also a member and former chair of the New Hampshire Postsecondary Education Commission and the New Hampshire College and University Council.
Within the broader higher education community, Father Jonathan has been a board member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and is a member of the Secretariat of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
Father Jonathan is the co-founder of the nationwide Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities, is a member of the Board of Regents of Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island, the Board of Consultants of Saint Aloysius School in Harlem, New York City, and the Board of Directors of Saint Dominic High School in Lewiston, Maine.
A native of Bristol, R.I., and a graduate of Portsmouth (R.I.) Abbey School, Father Jonathan earned an A.B. in philosophy at Saint Anselm College in 1969. He entered Saint Anselm Abbey in 1968 and professed solemn vows as a Benedictine monk in 1973. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1974 after studying theology at Saint John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass. In 1983, he received a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Within the monastic community, Father Jonathan served as subprior and master of junior monks, before being appointed prior in 1986. He has also served the college community in a number of other educational roles, including instructor of theology, associate director of Campus Ministry, assistant to the academic dean, and dean of students.
- Abbot Hilary Pfraengle, O.S.B., 1893–1909
- Abbot Ernest Helmstetter, O.S.B., 1909–1927
- Abbot Bertrand Dolan, O.S.B., 1927–1956
- Fr. Gerald McCarthy, O.S.B., 1956–1960
- Fr. Bernard Holmes, O.S.B., 1960–1964
- Fr. Placidus Riley, O.S.B., 1964–1972
- Fr. Brendan Donnelly, O.S.B., 1972–1979
- Br. Joachim Froehlich, O.S.B., 1979–1990
- Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., (acting president 1989–1990), 1990–2013