Photo Credit: St. Bonaventure University Flickr
By Kelly Haberstroh
On Friday, Nov. 3, almost 1,000 people attended the formal inauguration of Dr. Dennis R. DePerro as the 21st president of St. Bonaventure University.
The ceremony began with “Procession of the Chosen” by Larry MacTaggart, performed by Dr. Les Sabina and the concert band. Delegates representing other colleges and universities, university trustees, administrators, three past presidents, faculty representing universities, resident assistants and student leaders, friars and sisters processed in with DePerro.
The first of 13 speakers, Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said an opening prayer before he said, “[DePerro] is a man of deep personal faith and tangible zeal for Catholic education.”
He spoke about how DePerro has prioritized Catholic higher education because his Jesuit schooling enhanced his Franciscan knowledge. During his 35 years in college administration, DePerro emphasized the importance of students, studies and service, Malone said.
He also talked about how DePerro will support the vision to continue to become extraordinary.
Following Malone, Sen. Catharine Young spoke on DePerro’s behalf. She said, “He has impeccable academic credentials and an impressive record of achieving results. He is the right person to lead us forward with passion and loyalty.”
Mary Rose Kubal, a representative of St. Bonaventure’s faculty senate, said that DePerro has decades of experience when it comes to successfully leading admissions and overseeing excellent programs at Le Moyne College.
She said he recognizes the serious challenges facing our university right now. “He joined at a unique moment and is ready to make changes necessary not only to survive, but to thrive,” Kubal said.
The part of DePerro’s curriculum vitae (CV) she found to be most impressive when searching for the new president was the language he used when describing his experience. She said the word “served” appeared 14 times, “member” six times and “committee” 24, which gave her an optimistic view of his potential as president because his service was impressive and he seemed like a team player.
Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., president of Siena College, said how DePerro has encouraged the university mission to be faithful while establishing a nurturing community with a shared commitment of learning to learn.
After knowing him for 35 years when he began as a young admissions counselor, Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, introduced DePerro by calling him a man of high integrity and strong moral values.
Robert Daugherty, member of the Board of Trustees, was involved in the presidential selection process. He said Jack McGinley told him to make sure the board is unanimous, and “we were in our hearts, minds and vote.”
“Dennis DePerro is smart, insightful, passionate, funny, likeable, collaborative and dedicated,” Daugherty said. “He’s the authentic real deal. What you see is what you get.”
When DePerro gave his presidential address, he emphasized his goal to not only help students learn, but helping students learn to live good lives.
He also thanked the 13 people before him and everyone who traveled to celebrate. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams I’d stand here as the 21st president,” he said.