BY ELIZABETH WONG
He has been a theology professor, a pharmacy training manager, and a long-practicing attorney, but the new role of the Rev. Sean Sheridan, T.O.R., is different from all of these: on April 19, Franciscan University of Steubenville announced Sheridan would be its new president.
“I am honored to serve as the next president of Franciscan University,” said Sheridan in the university’s press statement released on April 19. “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.”
Sheridan was ordained to the priesthood in 2006, after entering the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 2000. He received his doctorate in canon law in 2009, writing his dissertation on “‘Ex corde Ecclesiae’: A Canonical Commentary on Catholic Universities ‘From the Heart of the Church’ to Catholic Universities.”
The Rev. Terence Henry, T.O.R., the outgoing president of the university, said in the university’s press release that he has, “… the utmost respect for Fr. Sean, and I have deeply valued his opinion, especially on Church issues, over the years.” He added that he is certain that Sheridan will continue to “… raise the bar of excellence.”
Before arriving at Franciscan in fall 2012 to teach undergraduate and graduate theology courses, Sheridan had been an assistant professor in the school of canon law at The Catholic University of America.
Among the student body, many students have commented on the incoming president’s presence as promising for the school’s future.
“I was extremely excited to find out that Fr. Sean was chosen to be our next president,” said student Jessica Pehmoeller. “He is an example for all of us. I cannot wait to see the direction in which he will shepherd our university both academically and spiritually.”
“I think he’s going to be a very good president,” said fellow student Mark Daniel. “We received something special from Scanlan, as we did with Henry; likewise Sheridan will bring something special to the university that we need right now.”
On January 28, the university announced that Henry would step down from the presidency—a role he had held since he succeeded the Rev. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. in October 2000.
On June 1, Sheridan will officially assume the duties of university president, and will be formally installed as Franciscan’s sixth president during the inauguration ceremony on October 10, 2013.