Franciscan University: The Next Generation

As you have all heard by now, we have a new president at Franciscan University: Fr. Dave Pivonka. This is something many of us at FUS have been praying for, and it is such a joy to have it happen!

I first met Fr. Dave back when he was Br. Dave, in the mid-90s while I was studying at Franciscan for my Master’s degree. But I really got to know him by working together at the Steubenville Youth Conferences. He is a man of great faith and creativity, a wonderful preacher and “outside the box” thinker. I think he is going to make an awesome president.

One of the best things about Fr. Dave is that Franciscan University was a huge part of his formation. He is our first alumnus to be a president. He knows first hand what a powerful place Franciscan University is and can be.

I have heard a number of people comment that he will be Fr. Mike Scanlan 2.0. While that is quite a compliment, I don’t think that will be the case.

Let me make a Star Trek analogy: If Fr. Mike was Captain Kirk, I think Fr. Dave will be more like Captain Picard. Because he is bald? Sure, that is a part of it. Okay, a big part of it. I mean, come on, he kind of looks like him, doesn’t he?

I remember when STNG was first announced and the first picture of Patrick Stewart (Capt. Picard) was released. There was a “what the?” response from the fans. How was this older, shorter, bald British guy going to be the next Captain Kirk? The answer was that he wasn’t. He was his own man. STNG was able to use all the elements that you loved about the original series but took it in a new and exciting direction. It didn’t try to copy the past (and when it did, it failed). It “boldly went” into the future. Many (like me) think that Next Gen was even better than the original series.

That’s my hope for Franciscan. To keep what was great about our past but make it better than before. I think the Holy Spirit has given us a man who can lead us into that future. I’m excited to be a part of the crew.

What part of the crew? Worf, obviously. I mean, come on—tall, fierce, honorable…

Crap. I’m going to be Wesley Crusher, aren’t I?

Oh, well. Make it so.