LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province and the Siena College Board of Trustees have rearticulated the desire to maintain their historic relationship by signing an agreement titled “Our Shared Commitment to Catholic Franciscan Higher Education.”
The agreement specifies the mutual desire of Siena, founded by the Order of Friars Minor in 1937, and the Province, founded in 1901, to advance the educational mission of the college in a manner that respects and preserves its Catholic-Franciscan character.
Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, and Howard Foote, chair of the Siena Board of Trustees, signed the agreement on March 11 at a board meeting.
“The agreement is significant in the life of Siena College and Holy Name Province,” said Kevin, president of Siena from 2007 to 2014. “As a member of the Siena Board of Trustees and as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province, I was proud to sign my name on this historic document. There is profound respect expressed within the agreement for the Franciscan origins of Siena and a strong commitment of both groups to sustain and nurture the Franciscan intellectual tradition.”
The agreement reaffirms and further clarifies the mutual commitments of the Province and the Siena Board of Trustees for the first time since the relationship was formally redefined 42 years ago. In 1974, Siena College and St. Bonaventure University became legally independent corporations under New York State charters. As the revised Siena bylaws at that time indicated, the college intended to maintain its historic relationship with the Province. This document attempts to specify some of the mutual commitments of the Province and the Siena trustees that have been formally operative for many years.
“The Siena Board of Trustees recognizes that this agreement is highly significant and reaffirms our commitment to the friars of Holy Name Province and the values Siena College was founded upon,” Foote said. “Siena’s Franciscan and Roman Catholic identity is integral to our mission and essential to informing and guiding decisions that will shape the future of the college.”
The development of “Our Shared Commitment to Catholic Franciscan Higher Education” involved a collaborative effort between the Provincial Council and the Franciscan Values Committee of the Siena Board of Trustees. Both entities unanimously endorsed the content of the document.
“It has been almost 40 years since the original memorandum of understanding was adopted,” said F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, Siena’s president. “Many things have changed within higher education and within the Province since that time. The opportunity to develop the statement, which reaffirms the friars and the trustees mutual commitment to the Catholic-Franciscan mission of Siena College, provoked thoughtful conversation and strengthened our shared commitment to the core of our mission.”
In 2012, the Province signed a similar agreement with St. Bonaventure University.