The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

February 25, 2013

Zeis’ leadership will be missed

St. Francis president accomplished much

— The Rev. Gabriel Zeis has been a familiar face on the St. Francis University campus since at least 1980. That is when he was ordained in a campus ceremony as a member of the Franciscan Third Order Regular.

He has come a long way since then, having served as president for the past 10 years.

Last week, we reported that Zeis was stepping down and that a search for a successor was already under way.

During Zeis’ time on the Loretto campus, he has overseen many changes, including the adoption of academic schools – students now register for courses in the schools of business, arts and letters, sciences and health sciences.

From 2004 to 2009, upgrades were made to every athletic facility, and come fall, a 70,000-square-foot science center will be unveiled.

While at the helm, the Bucks County native has also accepted large monetary donations from gracious families: $2 million in 2007 for the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness and $1 million in 2012 for the capital campaign.

In a 1985 Tribune-Democrat interview about his role as then- director of the Dorothy Day Justice and Peace Center on campus, Father Gabriel was quoted as saying, “Life is giving. Nothing lives unless it is nurtured.”

He has given a lot to not only St. Francis University but to our entire region, where he has also served in leadership capacities.

We’ve been told more details about Rev. Zeis’ future will surface at a March 14 meeting of the university’s board of trustees.

Whatever those plans, we expect they will include helping others.

We join the entire community in thanking Father Zeis and wishing him continued good fortunes.

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