Dr. Favazza Installed as 11th College President

October 17, 2019

By Laura Lemire

On Thursday, Oct. 17, Saint Anselm College officially installed Dr. Joseph A. Favazza as its 11th president, marking the beginning of a new moment in the college’s history.

In a ceremony in the Thomas F. Sullivan Arena, Dr. Favazza shared with the crowd of faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, trustees, and delegates from colleges and universities all over the country, his vision for the future of the hilltop institution.

“At Saint Anselm, learning is not a spectator sport. It happens when we study ‘the great thing,’ through engagement with communities, and by serious introspection and contemplation,” he said.

“We are committed to an education that is simply transformative.”

He recognized the colleges strengths and offered ways of continuing to grow those through: targeted graduate programs; new, interdisciplinary undergraduate programs; sharing the story of the college’s centers and institutes; offering additional educational opportunities and transformative learning experiences; continuing to “live inclusively;” and finally, considering a program tied to the monastic community’s way of life.

“The point of education is giving you the ability to know what is worth thinking about and knowing what to think about is the result of knowing who you are.”

Dr. Favazza underscored the transformative nature of the education that Saint Anselm provides its students and committed his full support and advance of that learning through those pointed ideas to improve the student experience and elevate the college.

He concluded with, “We will not limit our challenges out of fear or conflict or timidity; rather we will challenge our limits by coming together to accomplish hard but necessary things to keep the college vital for the next generation and the generation after that.”

The office of the president was conferred by Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., chancellor of the college, and Ann M. Catino ’82, chair of the board of trustees.

“I think I speak for the entire [presidential search] committee and Board of Trustees who ultimately approved the candidate, that when we saw Dr. Favazza, it was truly magical,” said Catino. “It was very clear, I think, to the search committee that Dr. Favazza would be very thoughtful and deliberative in his approach to growing and strengthening the college.
“His focus is on our students, and he will ensure that our students reach their fullest potential in their lifelong pursuit of truth, personal growth, and service. Our mission was his mission.”

The ceremony also featured remarks by Alumni Association President Katie Leidemer Mahan ’02, Student Government Association President Joshua Hughes ’20, Staff Council Chair Benjamin Horton ’12, Faculty Senate President Professor Tauna Sisco, and Reverend John F. Denning, C.S.C, president of Stonehill College.

Dr. Favazza celebrating during the installation ceremony

Finally, the installation concluded with Soar, music composed for the event by Director of the Dana Center for the Humanities Joseph Deleault with lyrics by Deleault’s partner Academy Award Winner Ernest Thompson. Featuring a 60-person choir, brass and percussion sections, saxophone, piano, and fiddle, the piece celebrated Dr. Favazza’s arrival to the college and installation as president.

When Deleault, an award-winning international performer and pianist, was asked to create a piece for the inauguration, he knew it would be a memorable project. “I’m honored to be asked to write this piece. It’s really special,” he said.

Deleault explains that the piece was composed in two parts: the first part as a hymn, keeping in mind traditional New England music while the second part pays homage to the Favazza’s southern roots with hints of soul and funk.

The title, Soar, embodied the reoccurring theme of the phrase, “let your passions soar.”

“I was really looking forward to playing it,” said Deleault. “Looking back, this is something that people will talk about, that will hopefully live on.”  

The inauguration ended with a Benediction from The Very Reverend Jonathan P. DeFelice, O.S.B., president emeritus and judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Boston.

The installation ceremony followed a Mass of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, Oct. 16 celebrated by Abbot Mark, with concelebrants The Very Reverend Jonathan P. DeFelice, O.S.B., The Reverend John F. Denning, C.S.C., and The Reverend Francis Daly.

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