Two had impact on area

We might realize that change is a constant in our lives, but that doesn’t always make it any easier to accept.

Case in point: The recent personnel moves at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The school is an important institution in our area on many levels. Its economic impact on the city, for example, is powerful. It’s a major employer in our region, and the money spent by the university’s students helps local businesses.

That’s why when it was announced earlier this year that the Rev. Terrence Henry, TOR, would be stepping down as president of the school after more than 12 years, it was an important story. It was the same thing a few weeks ago when it was announced that the Rev. Richard Davis, TOR, had received a new assignment and would be leaving the position of vice president of community relations, a post he has held for many years.

Henry will not be leaving town – he has been appointed as chancellor of the university. Davis, however, is on his way to Loretto, Pa., where he will become the minister provincial of the Third Order Regulars.

Both were very involved in the university, of course, but both were also very involved in the community. They worked hard to help break down the perception held by some in the community that those involved with the school had little more than a passing interest in the well-being of residents of the city and its surrounding area.

A couple of ways they did was being involved with the Academy of Lifelong Learning at the university and the school’s board of advisers. Both organizations came together a little more than a week ago to honor and say farewell to Davis. The evening, which was held at Williams Country Club, was put together by Patricia Fletcher, chair of the board of advisers, and Eunice Lincoff, president of the academy.

Members of both groups and the university staff had the opportunity to share some time with Davis and thank him for his service. No one in the room needed to be convinced about the impact the faithful Franciscan from Buffalo has made in the community, something that was demonstrated in the invocation and benediction, which were delivered by protestant ministers – the Rev. Ed Rudiger, pastor of Cove Presbyterian Church in Weirton and a member of the Academy of Lifelong Learning, and the Rev. Calvin McLoyd Jr., pastor of Steubenville’s Second Baptist Church and a member of the board of advisers.

Those gathered for the dinner also had the opportunity to meet the men who will follow Henry and Davis, the Rev. Sean Sheridan, TOR, the university’s new president, and the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, who will be the new vice president of community relations.

Both are ready to bring their experience and perspectives to their jobs, and both are looking to expand on the foundation Henry and Davis have built.

And that’s a good feeling, knowing that while the names and faces may change, the school’s leaders will continue to share their commitment to faith, the university and the community with residents from around the Tri-State Area.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)