Alumnus Named President of St. Francis U | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Alumnus Named President of St. Francis U

    Former colleague and brother friar of Fr. Sean is selected as president by St. Francis University

    November 15, 2013

    STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—The Reverend Malachi Van Tassell, TOR, a member of the Board of Trustees of Franciscan University of Steubenville and a 1993 graduate of Franciscan University, will be the next president of Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. “I congratulate Father Van Tassell on being selected president elect of Saint Francis University,” said Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville. “As an alumnus of Franciscan University, Father Malachi brings an educational background deeply rooted in Catholic and Franciscan teaching and a wealth of experience to this new position.

    “I have been blessed to know and admire Father Malachi since before I became a Franciscan friar many years ago. It has been my great privilege to experience our religious formation together and to work side by side with him as a professed friar. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Father Malachi and know that God will continue to work through him as he assumes the duties of President of Saint Francis University.”

    Saint Francis University was established in 1847 by six Franciscan friars from Ireland. It was one of the first Catholic universities in the nation, and the first Franciscan college in the country. It is operated by the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Province of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance, the same religious order that governs Franciscan University of Steubenville.

    Father Van Tassell will assume the office of president of Saint Francis University after Father Gabriel Zeis, TOR, concludes his tenure at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.

    Father Van Tassell professed vows as a Franciscan in 1999 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. He has a PhD in higher education leadership from Capella University, a master's degree in taxation from Arizona State University, and an undergraduate degree in accounting and Spanish from Franciscan University. While at Franciscan, Van Tassell was a member and coordinator of Ahim Adonai Faith Household, the second-oldest men's household. A certified public accountant, he worked for Coopers & Lybrand in Phoenix, Arizona, and Arthur Andersen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a tax accountant prior to becoming a Franciscan. 

    He currently serves as vice president of the Foundation Maria Thron for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s study abroad program in Austria and is an adjunct assistant professor of accounting at Saint Francis, where he has taught for 11 years. He serves as the provincial econome (treasurer) and vicar provincial of the Franciscan Friars, Sacred Heart Province. For more than 10 years, Father Van Tassell was deputy fire chief and chaplain of the Loretto Volunteer Fire Company.

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