Father Joseph L. Levesque C.M., president emeritus of Niagara University, has been elected interim president of St. John’s, effective Aug. 1.
The decision was made by the university’s board of trustees.
Father Donald Harrington, C.M., retired in May after a 24-year tenure as president of St. John’s.
Father Levesque served as president of Niagara from January 2000 until his retirement following the just-completed academic year. Like St. John’s, Niagara is administered by the Vincentian Fathers, of which Father Levesque is one.
Under his leadership, close to $100 million was invested in new construction, renovation and improvement projects at Niagara University. The initiatives were consistent with a comprehensive master plan that, at Father Levesque’s direction, that served as the blueprint for a decade-long redevelopment of the 160-acre campus in western New York.
A native of North Tarrytown, now Sleepy Hollow, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Vincentians in 1967 after studies at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa. He taught religious studies at St. John’s Preparatory School in Brooklyn and at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Princeton, N.J., before being assigned to Niagara in 1970 as a lecturer in the religious studies department. He pursued studies in theology at The Catholic University of America, where he received his doctoral degree.
Returning to Niagara, he resumed teaching and was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the college’s graduate division in 1978. He remained in the post until 1986, when he returned to seminary work, serving as president of St. Joseph’s Seminary.
Father Levesque served as provincial superior of the Vincentians’ Eastern Province, 1990-1999. He was chairman of the boards of St. John’s University and Niagara University during his term as provincial.
He was president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, a leadership organization for male religious in the United States, 1995-1997.
He has two sisters and a brother in the Sleepy Hollow area.