"Well done, good and faithful servant"...
Father Mike, chancellor for 11 years after 26 years as president of Franciscan University, will retire to the Sacred Heart Province motherhouse in Loretto, Pennsylvania, effective June 30, 2011.
Message from Father Mike
"The Lord has given me countless blessings through my years of service at Franciscan University, It has been a remarkable privilege and deep joy to work with so many committed Christian faculty, staff, administrators, and donors in the vitally important ministry of Catholic higher education. While I will miss the daily relationships with our joy-filled students, alumni, and conference-goers on campus and my many friends in the local community, I know that this new phase of my life is also under God’s providential care and I look forward to seeing what he has next for me."
Message from Father Terence Henry, TOR, President of Franciscan University
"We are deeply grateful to Father Mike for all he has done for the renewal of Franciscan University, the renewal of Catholic higher education, and the renewal of the worldwide Church. Father Mike heeded those same words that were spoken to St. Francis of Assisi over 800 years ago, 'Go and rebuild my Church.' And he did so by transforming Franciscan University into an internationally recognized Catholic university,"
Message from Father Christian Oravec, TOR, minister provincial, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, chairman, Board of Trustees
“On behalf of the province and the trustees, I extend our sincere gratitude to Father Michael for his tireless service as chancellor and president. If anyone deserves to enjoy a peaceful retirement, it is Father Michael, and we wish him all the best.”
Message from Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon, bishop of Steubenville
"It is hard to imagine Steubenville without Father Michael Scanlan. His role as president and later chancellor of Franciscan University has left an indelible mark on that institution. He has been a champion of civil rights and the common good in the larger community. As the bishop of the local diocese, I am also aware of and grateful for the pastoral care Father Michael has offered many people over the years, especially those involved in the charismatic renewal. I invite all the people of the Diocese of Steubenville to give thanks to God for this faithful servant and to ask blessings upon him."
The impact of Father Mike
In 1956, Father Scanlan graduated from Harvard Law School. He then served as Staff Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force before discerning a call to religious life and entering the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1964. After serving his religious order in various assignments including rector of St. Francis Seminary in Loretto, he accepted the office of president at the College of Steubenville, Ohio, in 1974.
Father Scanlan assumed the presidency in the midst of turbulent times, transforming Franciscan over the next 26 years from a small Catholic regional college struggling to keep its doors open into a world-renowned leader in Catholic higher education.
Under Father Scanlan’s leadership, the University’s theology professors became the first at any Catholic college or university in the nation to publicly pledge an Oath of Fidelity to the magisterium.
Franciscan University gained international attention during his tenure for its fidelity to the Catholic Church, integration of faith and reason in academic and residence life programs, and its commitment to excellence in education.
Father Scanlan led the development of the largest undergraduate Theology Program of any U.S. Catholic university and the founding of a Human Life Studies Minor, the only academic program of its kind in the U.S., which trains students to articulate the value of human life from conception to natural death.
Enrollment grew from 1,000 students in the early 1970s to over 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students in 2000, when he turned over the presidency to Father Terence Henry, TOR.
Father Scanlan also founded Catholic summer conference programs for adults and teens in 1975 with a national Catholic charismatic conference for priests and deacons. Today, Franciscan’s summer conferences reach over 40,000 people annually with the good news of authentic Catholic renewal and the New Evangelization.
Father Scanlan is the author of over 16 books and booklets, including Let the Fire Fall and What Does God Want? As a sought-after conference, pilgrimage, and retreat leader, he has reached out to hundreds of thousands of Catholics and other Christians in North America, South America, Europe, and Africa.
In October 2009 Franciscan University held a celebration marking Father Scanlan's 50th anniversary as a professed Franciscan. The event included a conference, a Mass of thanksgiving, and a gala reception and dinner, all hosted by Father Henry.
The occasion prompted hundreds of congratulatory messages, many from bishops, cardinals, and other Church leaders. Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, wrote, “When Father Scanlan became the president of what was then known as the College of Steubenville in 1974, it was hardly known outside of the state of Ohio. Now, as Franciscan University, it is known throughout the nation as a place where the Catholic faith is taught in an academically inquisitive and rigorous way, but always true to the magisterium of the Church.”
Proceeds from the celebration benefited the Father Michael Scanlan Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to students and is one of
Father Scanlan's many legacies.
In the coming weeks, Father Scanlan will be honored for his distinguished service to the University at the Senior Farewell Mass, a faculty and staff gathering, the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Conference, the Catholic Charismatic Conference, and other public events.
Father Henry said it is “impossible” to calculate the thousands of lives transformed and souls brought closer to Christ because of Father Scanlan's decades of service.
"Franciscan University's mission springs from the heart of the Church, which has borne so much fruit from Father Michael's endeavors. This fruit can be seen in our graduates who serve the Church in so many outstanding apostolates, in family life, as priests and religious, in business, healthcare, and in their churches and communities."