SBU Appoints Dean of Franciscan Studies

Maria Hayes Around the Province

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University has named Fr. David Couturier, OFM Cap., as dean of its School of Franciscan Studies and interim executive director of the Franciscan Institute, effective Aug. 15.

Fr. David succeeds F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, who served as interim dean of the School of Franciscan Studies for two years. Edward began his role as interim president of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., on Aug. 4.

The new dean of the School of Franciscan Studies has both administrative and academic experience. Known for his expertise in organizational development, strategic planning and Franciscan education, Fr. David has served as an organizational consultant for congregations, religious communities and dioceses around the world. He has written articles on various topics, including psychology, pastoral care, social justice and organizational development.

“It is a real privilege building on the history of this great School of Franciscan Studies and the Franciscan Institute and having an opportunity to share the Franciscan imagination with a new generation of young adults and with scholars around the world,” he said in a recent press release.

University officials look forward to working with Fr. David to expand the reach of current academic programs.

“The needs are changing and a Church led by a pope who ‘channels’ the charism of Francis of Assisi is looking for the resources we already possess,” said president Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF. “This will be an exciting time for the school and faculty.”

The university is in the process of establishing separate administrative structures for the Franciscan Institute and the School of Franciscan Studies. Faculty and staff are working with the administration to implement a new strategic plan. The institute remains committed to providing the latest research in Franciscan philosophy, theology and history, and publishing educational resources.

Fr. David holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H., and a master of divinity degree from Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, N.Y. He completed a licentiate in clinical psychology and did his clinical residency at the Institute of Psychology of the Gregorian University in Rome. He earned his doctorate in pastoral counseling from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana in 1999 and a doctorate in pastoral psychology and organizational studies in 2005.

He also holds multiple credentials in organizational development, psychology, family therapy and meditation training.

The friar is currently the Dean R. Hoge Professor of Pastoral Planning and Church Management at the Graduate Theological Foundation. He teaches in the theology department at the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome and recently completed a summer teaching commitment at St. Bonaventure University.

He has served as director of pastoral planning for the Archdiocese of Boston, and dean of the school of theology and associate professor of pastoral studies at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Fr. David was elected provincial vicar of his province in 2002 and served Franciscans around the world as a board member and president of Franciscans International from 1999 to 2005.

The Capuchin friar is not the first of his Order to serve at St. Bonaventure. Fr. Maurice Sheehan, OFM Cap., worked at St. Bonaventure for 11 years, teaching and serving as assistant director of the Institute. Fr. Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., also taught there. Fr. David will live at the friary on campus.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.