By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93
November 8, 1873
St. Bonaventure University’s ninth president, Fr. Fidelis Reynolds, was born on this day in Brooklyn, N.Y. The first native-born president of both the college and seminary, he started off his career practicing law in New York City.
After a while, he decided to become a priest and enrolled at Bonaventure in 1896. He graduated in 1901, the same year he would enter the Franciscan order.
Fr. Fidelis completed his novitiate in Paterson, N.J. and then studied theology at the Franciscan College at Mount Saint Sepulchre in Washington, D.C. He was ordained as a priest in 1907 and joined Bonaventure’s faculty as both a friar and as a lecturer of mathematics.
Fr. Alexander Hickey became severely ill in 1911, and Fr. Fidelis was named the interim vice president. Not long afterward, Fr. Joseph Butler, university president, died, and Fr. Fidelis was named president.
Fr. Fidelis is most remembered for the advancements he made in the school’s academic structure. During his tenure, the high school, college and seminary were separated. He also helped add physics, biology and chemistry to the university.
In addition, he helped oversee the construction of Butler Gym, which was built as a memorial to the late president. Fr. Fidelis retired in 1916.
He enjoyed retirement for more than twenty years. However, he passed away in 1937 in Miami Beach, Fla.