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New Saint Anselm president will be first non-Benedictine leader

For the first time in its history, a non-Benedictine will be chosen to lead Saint Anselm College following the May retirement of its long-time president Jonathan DeFelice.

A presidential search committee has narrowed the field of candidates to two, according to information posted on the college’s website – Steven DiSalvo, Ph.D., president of Wisconsin’s Marian University, and Msgr. Stuart Swetland, S.T.D., currently vice president for Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

In a statement to the Saint Anselm community, Abbot Mark Cooper, OSB, chancellor of the college, cited the new leadership as one of several major changes this year at the Catholic, Benedictine liberal arts college.

“I personally want to assure the members of all the various constituencies of this institution that from the very beginning of the search process it has been made clear that it is of paramount importance that we select a practicing Catholic as president, one who is able to profess, live and explain the faith that is at the very heart of this institution and the education it provides,” Cooper said. “I am confident that we have identified such individuals in our finalists and am comfortable on this issue as we look to move forward.”

According to biographies posted on the college’s website, DiSalvo joined Marian University in 2010, and comes with extensive experience in national philanthropic fundraising leadership and Catholic higher education.

DiSalvo served as president and founder of The Hopewell Group, Inc., which focuses on transfers of wealth for individuals, family foundations and corporations.

He held the title of executive director of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which works to educate and end the cycle of domestic violence.

He also served as the chief operating officer of Junior Achievement of New York Inc., which provides business education using volunteer role models.

DiSalvo holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fordham University, New York, an M.B.A. in marketing from Fordham University, a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Fordham University and attended the Higher Education Institute for New Presidents at Harvard University.

Swetland was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria, Ill. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics from the United States Naval Academy. Elected a Rhodes Scholar in 1981, he entered the Catholic Church while studying at Oxford.

Swetland has a B.A. and M.A. in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford; a M.Div. and M.A. from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary; and his S.T.L. and S.T.D. from the Pontifical Lateran University, having studied at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.

He also holds the Archbishop Flynn Chair of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University, serves as the Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education and the Executive Secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

The search firm of Isaacson, Miller, assisted the selection committee that was led by two St. Anselm alumni and comprised of faculty, staff, students, trustees and members of the monastic community.

Cooper said the college’s dedication to its mission will continue.

“I believe that we have been careful to ensure and insist that our Catholic mission will be our continued primary focus, and that our Benedictine presence and involvement in that mission will be as vital as our numbers and strength allow,” he said.

Both candidates will visit the campus during the last two weeks of April.

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