While he has been at the school for months, the inauguration of the Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, as the sixth president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville presented the first major public opportunity for people beyond the university community to hear the new leader.
Sheridan stands firm with the Catholic mission of the university, which has been its hallmark, namely: To transform culture through the work of the individuals educated at the school.
Franciscan doesn't mince words, and its presidents in recent history have meant what they said and said what they meant in terms of speaking out about issues facing the nation and individuals.
During his inaugural address, Sheridan took a step that should be welcomed. He said there must be alternate funding mechanisms, including growing the school's endowment, to enable more to obtain the education offered at Franciscan. He also said he wants to re-establish the Franciscan University Press, to allow for publication of scholarly works, as much to disseminate the information they contain as for reminding the world that Franciscan is a quality academic institution.
He also spoke highly of students working alongside professors in developing research and writing scholarly publications, all of which helps foster academic excellence. He wants to not only continue to foster that but to be the voice of academic excellence "in the public square."
It should mean exciting times for the school as it forges ahead, fighting for religious freedom and a religious voice, including the battle against having the government force it to pay for federally required insurance programs that run against the religious beliefs of the school.
Sheridan fills shoes worn by men who were all leaders led by their faith. Each man had a hallmark of his presidency, from the growing years of the school to its revival to its growth as a respected center of Catholic thought. Sheridan's words indicate he is a worthy successor of the friar-presidents who came before him.
We look forward to his tenure.