On Friday, September 20, Rev. John Denning, C.S.C. was inaugurated as president of Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. Almost 2,400 people, including many students, attended the inauguration, which was held at Stonehill's Sports Complex. With his inauguration, Fr. Denning becomes the tenth president in the College’s 65 year history.
"As I begin this ministry, I take a moment on behalf of our students, our current faculty and staff to offer our thanks to the many hearts and hands and minds who have given of their sweat and toil and who have sacrificed so much to make to Stonehill what it is today," said Fr. Denning in his inaugural address. "I speak of the first Holy Cross Religious, the lay men and women, faculty members and staff, who collaborated with the Congregation and, of course, our loyal alumni so many of whom are here this afternoon. Together, they built this institution brick by brick from its earliest days in 1948 through today.
"By their efforts, they have changed the lives of countless young men and women who have benefited by their education at Stonehill and we are so grateful for the work they have done during these past 65 years to make Stonehill what it is today."
Fr. Denning went on to highlight one of the four principles of Catholic social teaching, solidarity, which professes that we are responsible for and to one another.
“This is an important aspect of the type of Catholic liberal arts education we provide our students at Stonehill,” he said, “That is, to see the real and true needs of our world and to find the courage, strength, grace, and wisdom to work with other men and women of good will to address them while living in a spirit of solidarity with our neighbors."
Looking to the future, Fr. Denning identified four areas of focus: the development of an even stronger academic profile for the College, enhancing Catholic identity, deepening the commitment to diversity, and working on the issue of affordability.
Friday’s inauguration capped a week of events at the Stonehill, including a carnival, a fruit and yogurt social hosted by Stonehill’s senior administration, and an academic symposium featuring acclaimed expert on religious violence and peacebuilding, Professor R. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame. The College also celebrated two Masses, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows Mass on Sunday and the Inaugural Mass on Thursday.
Fr. Denning was elected the 10th President of Stonehill on May 17, 2013, by the College's Board of Trustees. At the time, Fr. Denning was the Vice President for Student Affairs at the College. He succeeded Rev. Mark Cregan, C.S.C. who stepped down in June 2013 after 13 successful years of leading the College.