Gingerich officially installed as the 22nd president of Saint-Bonaventure



October 01, 2022

A humble farm boy from Iowa was officially installed Saturday as 22 from St. Bonaventure Universityn/a president, an achievement that Dr. Jeff Gingerich attributes to his Midwestern roots and the unwavering support of his wife, Betsy.

The parents, in-laws of Gingerich, Betsy and their five children were among dozens of family members, friends and former colleagues who joined hundreds of Bonaventure community members and delegates of 27 colleges and universities at the Reilly Center arena for its official installation ceremony.

“Without a doubt, my most important mentors have been my parents,” said Gingerich, who took over as SBU president on June 21.

“I want you all to know that all creativity and love of beauty in this world that I bring to this campus comes from my mother. All sense of wisdom and absolute kindness comes from my father. I couldn’t be luckier to have had these two as true mentors and role models all my life.

Of Betsy, he said, “I know there’s no way I’m standing on this podium without your support and guidance. You mean everything to me, and I’m so excited to take this journey with you.

Gingerich’s speech was preceded by the welcome of 10 speakers, ranging from brothers and campus officials to Dr. Rick Trietley Jr., ’86, the Olean native who will be officially installed Oct. 12 as president of Viterbo , a Franciscan university in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Trietley, former vice president of student affairs at St. Bonaventure, extended the welcome on behalf of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

“You are the right person at the right time to lead Saint-Bonaventure to new heights,” Trietley said. “As a graduate of Saint-Bonaventure myself, I am proud to call you our president.

Student government president Connor Raine, 24, said Gingerich wasted no time engaging with students, from handing out donuts at 8:30 a.m. on the first day of class to inviting school officers. the SGA for dinner.

“Whenever we’re welcomed into his office for a meeting,” Raine said, “Dr. Gingerich always takes the time to ask, ‘What can I do for you and how can I help you?'”

Michael Hickey, 1984, who chaired his first board meeting on Friday, said directors were unanimous in their belief that Gingerich was the right person at the right time when they named him chairman in March.

“In a higher education environment that is becoming more challenging with each passing year, we believe Jeff possesses the many qualities that our leader needs most right now,” Hickey said.

Dr. Gingerich addresses the crowd.Dr. Mary Van Brunt worked closely with Gingerich for 12 years at Cabrini, a Catholic university in suburban Philadelphia. Van Brunt said a quote from Mother Cabrini most reminded her of her friend: “A single act of humility is worth more than the proud display of any virtue.”

“Jeff had no ego and was so collaborative in trying to meet the challenges of college with our team that he sometimes had to remind us that he was in charge,” Van Brunt said. “He was an excellent mentor and created leaders throughout the university. I have no doubt that he will do the same in Saint-Bonaventure.

Pat Doyle, 80, the new chairman of the board of the National SBU Alumni Association, was among the alumni involved in the presidential search process.

“When I first read Dr. Gingerich’s cover letter (in labor), I was struck that he understood the Franciscan spirit and what it means to be a Bonnie without ever having set foot on campus,” Doyle said. “Our alumni love his energy and enthusiasm for Bona’s.”

Gingerich spoke of the heartfelt memories of Bonaventure that so many alumni and students have already shared with him.

“These memories are filled with the love of those who came before us and it is the legacy of that love that makes so many people call this place home,” he said. “It was a place that I quickly called home. … There is no doubt in my mind that Saint-Bonaventure is the most welcoming place on Earth.

Prof. Xavier Seubert, OFM, Acting Vice President for Mission Integration, offered his best wishes on behalf of the Franciscan community.

“We pray that the same Spirit of love, who traveled with Francis, will touch your heart and inspire your spirit as you lead us to shape the life of our future together,” he said.

Love was a common thread throughout Gingerich’s inauguration speech.

“My commitment to you today is to move forward in the spirit of unconditional love, and I deeply believe that this unconditional love is our only hope. The great poet Maya Angelou wrote, we must “have enough courage to do trust love one more time and always one more time,” Gingerich said.

“We will only thrive in Saint-Bonaventure and we will only thrive as a global community if we have the courage to trust in love. Know that you have my commitment to love this university.

Live streams of the Inaugural Mass, held on Saturday morning, and the Installation Ceremony will be archived later this weekend on the university streaming channel.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, Université Saint-Bonaventure is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring them with a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the 5th regional college value in the North in the 2022 edition of US News and World Report’s College Rankings.

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