The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

November 14, 2013

St. Francis picks new president

LORETTO — St. Francis University in Loretto has named its new president-elect.

On Monday, the university’s board of trustees elected the Rev. Malachi Van Tassell to assume the office of president.

His term will begin after the Rev. Gabriel Zeis concludes his tenure at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Van Tassell currently is an adjunct assistant professor of accounting at St. Francis, where he has taught for 11 years.

Larry Giannone, vice chairman of the board of trustees, said the university is excited to welcome Van Tessell as the next president.

“It was clear to us that Father Malachi’s familiarity with the university’s mission, vision and core values, as well as his background as an educator/

professor and administrator will serve our institution well,” he said. “The trustees look forward to the future leadership of Father Malachi as the chief steward of the university’s mission and the continued success of St. Francis University as an outstanding institution.”

An official announcement of Van Tassell’s election will be made Jan. 6.

Van Tassell professed vows as a Franciscan in 1999 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004 at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at St. Francis University.

He has a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Capella University, a master’s degree in taxation from Arizona State University and an undergraduate degree in accounting and Spanish from Franciscan University.

His doctoral dissertation was on the subject of servant leadership, and he has had two book reviews appear in the Journal of the American Taxation Association.

As a certified public accountant in Arizona, Van Tassell worked for Coopers & Lybrand in Phoenix, and Arthur Andersen in Albuquerque, N.M., as a tax accountant prior to becoming a Franciscan.

Van Tassell has served on various academic committees at

St. Francis through the years, including service as the NCAA faculty athletics representative and co-chairman of the university’s Day of Reflection committee.

He serves as the provincial econome (treasurer) and vicar provincial of the Franciscan Friars, Sacred Heart Province. He also is trustee of Franciscan University of Steubenville and vice president of the Foundation Maria Enthroned, Franciscan University’s Austrian campus.

In addition, Van Tassell served as deputy fire chief and chaplain of the Loretto Volunteer Fire Company for more than 10 years.

He is the son of Fred and Barbara Van Tassell and a native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • fire_23 Investigators seek cause of West End fire

    The cause of a five-alarm fire early Monday at a vacant structure in the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in Johnstown’s West End has not been determined, according to city fire officials.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland seeks loan for roof, HVAC work

    Richland Township’s plans to replace the municipal building’s roof and heating and air conditioning system will cost nearly $600,000, Solicitor Gary Costlow said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Undocumented children already arriving in state

    An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border is spilling over into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Auditor cites flaws in gas drilling regulation

    Strained by limited resources and the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, environmental regulators have failed to adequately monitor well safety or to provide clear and timely information to citizens, the state auditor general said Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Driver in fatal DUI crash will serve jail time

    A Vintondale man was sentenced Tuesday in Cambria County court to serve 16 to 32 months in the county jail for a 2011 alcohol-related crash that killed a woman.

    July 22, 2014

  • Reade Twp. water projects receive funding

    Three water treatment systems in Cambria County will receive financial assistance from the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove acid mine drainage from nearby waterways.

    July 22, 2014

  • stoystown Tractor Fest Antique tractors chugging toward Stoystown fest

    A display of a whole lotta horsepower and pulling contests will highlight the 14th annual Antique Tractor Festival.
    Sponsored by Stoystown Lions Club and Laurel Highlands Antique Power Club, the event will be held July 31 through Aug. 3 at the Lions’ park, one-half mile east of Stoystown on Route 30.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Irish dance school wants to set toes tapping in Cambria County

    If you ever wanted to learn to dance an Irish jig, now is your chance.
    Kenny Cavanaugh School of Irish Dance, based out of Milford, Pike County, is expanding into Cambria County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State for $1M

    A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    July 22, 2014

  • Local briefs 7/23/2014

    July 22, 2014


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads