Susan Donovan inaugurated as Bellarmine's fourth president

October 27, 2017

MORE VIDEO: Full Ceremony | Donovan's remarksAlumni Delegates | Processional Flyover | Inaugural Poem: Luminary | Inaugural Composition: To Music | Donovan's Post-ceremony Reaction | Reaction: Mayor Fischer & BU Community 

Dr. Susan M. Donovan was inaugurated as Bellarmine University’s fourth president during a ceremony in Knights Hall this afternoon.

The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Donovan as Bellarmine’s next president in February after an extensive global search process. She began leading Bellarmine in June, after a 32-year career at Loyola University Maryland that culminated in serving as that university’s executive vice president and acting president.

The inaugural ceremony formally installed Donovan as Bellarmine's fourth president, following Monsignor Alfred F. Horrigan (1950-1972), Dr. Eugene V. Petrik (1973-1990) and Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, Jr. (1990-2016).

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Donovan used her inaugural address to announce a collaborative strategic planning process that will shape the university’s next decade. “We will look for ways to reduce costs, increase revenue and reallocate resources consistently with our mission,” she said. “Opportunities for continued growth and improvement abound. We will seize them. And, we will continue to go forth into the community, with faith and learning, to make the world a better place.”

She also offered a forceful defense of the value of higher education. “Those of us who are devoting our hearts and minds to educating university students accept valid critiques,” she said. “We tend to be open-minded, and we are critical thinkers. We need to maintain our passion for continuous improvement. And we do need to find ways to make college more affordable. But we also must do a better job defending the liberal arts against the anti-intellectualism that too often dominates our culture.”

"I am honored and humbled -- and also energized -- that you have entrusted me today with the responsibility of leading this great institution of higher learning into the future," she said.

Donovan’s inauguration week included opportunities to connect with students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community. It also included numerous service projects - a theme and a key Bellarmine value Donovan consistently emphasized in her remarks.

The inauguration day began with a Mass at St. Agnes Church, with Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz presiding. The Rev. Tim Brown, a Loyola colleague who performed Donovan's wedding ceremony and baptized one of her daughters, delivered the homily.

The Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, shared his perspective working with Donovan. “The future is wide open,” he said. “You have a new president, and you couldn’t find one who is more talented, more committed to the mission, more committed to helping every student succeed, and more driven to position Bellarmine University for the future. With president Susan Donovan as your leader, Bellarmine University is poised for the next extraordinary chapter in its truly great history.”

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