Beyond the Bicentennial – Vincentian Higher Education

by | Nov 26, 2016 | News


In the summer of 1816, thirteen Vincentian priests set out from Italy to establish the first Vincentian mission in the United States. Two hundred years later, that mission is continued in hospitals, universities, conference of the society of St. Vincent de Paul, and a variety of other social service agencies nationwide. To celebrate this anniversary, DePaul University, St. John’s University and Niagara University hosted Beyond the Bicentennial: The Promise of Vincentian Higher Education, a two day conference celebrating the past and looking towards the future on November 11 and 12.

Over 120 deans, trustees, and other university administrators from all three universities gathered in Manhattan to examine the challenges and opportunities facing Vincentian and Catholic Higher Education in the 21st century. Among the series of speakers was Dr. Michael Galligan-Stierle, the president and CEO of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Rev. Robert Maloney, C.M., the 23rd Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission. Fortunately, current Superior General, Very Rev. Tomaž Mavrič, C.M. was able to join the conference to provide his remarks during the closing dinner.

Beyond the Bicentennial marked the first large gathering of leaders from all three institutions, and it hopefully will not be the last. During a panel discussion with the three university presidents – Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., and Rev. James Maher, C.M. – it was suggested that a similar conference could happen in the future. In the spirit of collaboration, some in the audience called for the inclusion of leaders from Adamson University in the Philippines, the Sisters of Charity Colleges in the United States and other Vincentian affiliated institutions of higher education throughout the world.

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