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Two Days of Celebrations to Mark the Inauguration of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Sixth President


The occasion will be marked by three major events open to the general public

Posted:  2013-10-02

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—The inauguration of Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, as the sixth president of Franciscan University of Steubenville will take place on Thursday, October 10, 2013.

The occasion will be marked by three major events open to the general public: A Mass at 10:00 a.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse, the Inauguration Ceremony at 2:30 p.m., also in the fieldhouse, and an October 10-11 Inaugural Symposium on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization.

The Franciscan University Board of Trustees unanimously elected Father Sheridan as president on April 19, 2013, and he began his duties as president June 1. As the University’s sixth president, he continues an unbroken chain of leadership by Franciscan Third Order Regular priests of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Loretto, Pennsylvania), which operates Franciscan University.

“When I learned I had been selected as Franciscan University’s sixth president, I felt a tremendous sense of peace and a tremendous sense of responsibility to lead this great University,” said Father Sheridan. “It is inspiring and truly humbling for me to be here at Franciscan University with the students who are pouring their hearts into their education and their prayer life, falling in love with God and the Church, and striving to become saints.” 

A native of Cresson, Pennsylvania, Father Sheridan was ordained to the priesthood in December 2006. He holds a juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America, where he served as an assistant professor in the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America. A member of the Franciscan University Board of Trustees from 2007-2012, he began teaching theology at the University in 2012.

Father Sheridan sees the inaugural events as a way to “thank God for the many ways he has blessed Franciscan University” over its 67-year history.

“This is an opportunity to advance the University’s mission through thoughtful discussion and prayer on our unique role in Catholic higher education, especially ways our students can go forth as Christ’s ambassadors to impact the Church and the secular world,” said Father Sheridan.

The inauguration ceremonies will be rich with academic significance and will be witnessed by the University’s academic, student, and alumni communities, the Board of Trustees and Board of Advisors, civic leaders, administrators from other colleges and universities, representatives of the Franciscan TOR province, and friends of Franciscan University from near and far.

The evening of Wednesday, October 9, Father Sheridan will prayerfully prepare for his inauguration by leading Franciscan University students in a Holy Hour in Christ the King Chapel at 7:30 p.m.    

The main celebrant for the October 10, 10:00 a.m. Inauguration Mass will be the Very Reverend Richard Davis, TOR, minister provincial of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The homilist will be the Most Reverend Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, minister general of the worldwide Third Order Regular.

Father Sheridan selected the readings for the Mass, which will be a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart, the namesake of the TOR province. He also selected the music, which will be performed by Franciscan University students and organist Father Chris Dobson, TOR. 

The Most Reverend Jeffrey Monforton, bishop of Steubenville, and the Most Reverend Gilbert Sheldon, bishop emeritus of Steubenville, will participate, as will many other priests.

The 2:30 p.m. Inauguration Ceremony begins with a procession of the Franciscan faculty in academic attire, then an invocation by Bishop Monforton and words of welcome by various officials associated with Franciscan University.

The inauguration itself symbolizes a transfer of power, as Father Terence Henry, TOR, Franciscan University president from 2000 to 2013 and now University chancellor, brings forth the presidential seal of office. The seal of office is then conferred on Father Sheridan by Father Davis, chairman of the Franciscan University Board of Trustees.

A high point of the inauguration will be a major address by Father Sheridan, in which he will present his vision for leading Franciscan University in the years ahead. The public is then invited to the President’s Reception in the J.C. Williams Center.

Later that evening, the Inaugural Symposium on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization will begin at 8:00 p.m. with an address by Bishop Monforton, “A Shepherd's Perspective on Catholic Higher Education and the New Evangelization.” 

On Friday, October 11, at 8:30 a.m. Mr. John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, will speak on the symposium’s main theme. At 10:15 a.m., Father Sheridan will give “A Presidential Perspective on Franciscan University of Steubenville and the New Evangelization.” The afternoon session will consist of a faculty panel discussion and remarks by Dr. Daniel Kempton, vice president for Academic Affairs.

On Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., Dr. Scott Hahn, the Father Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University, will speak in Christ the King Chapel on “The New Evangelization and Franciscan University.”

For more information on the inaugural events, including how to register for the free symposium, go to Franciscan.edu/inauguration.

Biography of Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR  

The Board of Trustees selected Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, as the sixth president of Franciscan University of Steubenville on April 19, 2013, and he began serving as president on June 1.

Father Sheridan served as assistant professor in the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America from 2009 until he joined Franciscan University’s Theology Department as a professor in fall 2012, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. A member of the Board of Trustees of Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, since 2010, he also held a position on the Franciscan University Board of Trustees from 2007-2012, working on the Student Life Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee, which he chaired from 2011-2012.

Before he entered the Franciscan Third Order Regular, he graduated in 1985 with a bachelor of science in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. In 1990, he earned his juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and spent the next 10 years as a practicing attorney in Sacramento and Pittsburgh, focusing on healthcare litigation, primarily with the representation of hospitals and physicians.

The Cresson, Pennsylvania, native entered the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 2000 and made his solemn profession of vows in 2005. He was ordained to the priesthood in December 2006. In 2007, Father Sheridan graduated from Washington Theological Union with his master of divinity. That same year, he also obtained his licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America School of Canon Law.  In 2009, he obtained a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America School of Canon Law. His dissertation, “Ex corde Ecclesiae: A Canonical Commentary on Catholic Universities ‘From the Heart of the Church’ to Catholic Universities,” addresses seven challenges to the implementation of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities and suggests solutions to those issues.

The Presidents of Franciscan University of Steubenville  

Father Dan Egan, TOR, 1946-1959
Father Kevin R. Keelan, TOR, 1959-1962; 1969-1974
Father Columba J. Devlin, 1962-1969
Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, 1974-2000
Father Terence Henry, TOR, 2000-2013
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, 2013 –

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