Jesuit Named New President of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia

Jesuit Father C. Kevin Gillespie, the associate provost at Loyola University in Chicago, has been selected as the new president of St. Joseph’s University.

Fr. Gillespie, a native Philadelphian, graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1972, and will be the first St. Joe’s alumnus to serve as university president in over 100 years.  He will assume his new position on July 1, 2012.

“Kevin Gillespie is deeply respected by his Jesuit brothers as a man of integrity and deep spirituality,” said Jesuit Father Dan Joyce, assistant vice president for mission and identity, in an email.

Gillespie will succeed former president Timothy R. Lannon, who left St. Joseph’s this year to become president of Creighton University in Omaha.

Jesuit Father Thomas Brennan, associate professor of English, said he believes Gillespie’s background in pastoral counseling will influence how he conducts himself as university president: “I would think he’d be very interested in talking to people. He would bring a very pastoral perspective, which would be good. He would be very available to people who have concerns.”

“I think he understands Philadelphia and the Church here a lot better than other people,” said Brennan. “He’s someone who has a deep commitments to Philadelphia.”

Until Gillespie’s arrival next year, senior vice president John W. Smithson will continue as interim president, the university said.

In January, St. Joseph’s trustees elected Jesuit Father Joseph O’Keefe to replace Lannon, but O’Keefe withdrew in March, citing health problems. O’Keefe was dean of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

Gillespie earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Joseph’s in 1972. He earned master’s degrees in psychology from Duquesne University and in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology from Boston University.

Gillespie “is an accomplished and acclaimed scholar with a commitment to academic excellence and a fervent dedication to advancing his alma mater and Catholic, Jesuit education in the region,” Robert Falese, chairman of the board of trustees, said in a statement.


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