March 26, 2024 // Diocese

Richey Named President of the University of Saint Francis

Officials with the University of Saint Francis announced on Thursday, March 21, that its sponsoring congregation – the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration – has appointed Dr. Lance Richey as its next president. Richey, who has held various roles at the university throughout his 13-year career at Saint Francis, had been serving as its interim president since last May. Richey will become the school’s 11th president – and its first lay president – in the school’s 134-year history after he is inaugurated at a ceremony on the university’s Fort Wayne campus on Friday, June 7.

University of Saint Francis
After serving as interim president since last May, officials with the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne announced that Dr. Lance Richey has been chosen as its 11th president.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to serve the University of Saint Francis as its next president,” Richey said in a statement released by the university. “By providing students with an intellectually rigorous education that is firmly rooted in the Catholic, Christian tradition, Saint Francis has been transforming lives and serving the Church and world for 134 years. As the first layperson to lead the university, I want to thank the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and the Board of Trustees for their trust in me. As the university begins planning for the next era in its history, I want everyone to know that its mission and values will continue to guide all we do. Now more than ever, the world needs the excellent, faith-based education for which Saint Francis is known and loved.”

Members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration and the Saint Francis Board of Trustees expressed their excitement regarding Richey’s appointment.

“We are very grateful to Dr. Lance Richey for serving as interim president this past year, and we warmly welcome him to serve as the next president of the University of Saint Francis,” Provincial Superior Sister Margaret Mary Mitchel, OSF, said. “Dr. Richey has a deep love for the university and its Catholic and Franciscan mission. He has been an exemplary model of faithfulness and dedicated service during his 13 years at Saint Francis. We offer him our heartfelt congratulations and assure him of our prayerful support as we go forward together following Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.”

Richard A. Poinsatte, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said: “The Board of Trustees joins the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in enthusiastically welcoming Dr. Richey as our new president. Dr. Richey’s faithful service to the University of Saint Francis is well-documented, and his commitment to its mission makes him the right person to lead the university. We are all very optimistic about the future of the University of Saint Francis under his leadership.”

Richey will succeed former University President Father Eric Albert Zimmer, who announced his resignation on April 5, 2023. Richey holds the rank of Professor of Theology and has served Saint Francis in several capacities during the past 13 years, most recently as Vice President for Academic Affairs from April of 2018 to May of 2023. Richey served more than four years as Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also previously served as Director of the John Duns Scotus Honors Program.

According to a university news release, Richey holds doctorates in philosophy and religious studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee and has published widely in both disciplines. He also holds a certificate of pre-theological studies from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri, and a bachelor of arts in history from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Before joining Saint Francis, Richey taught at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Conception Seminary College, and Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Richey and his wife, Carol, have five children, all of whom have earned or are earning degrees at Saint Francis.

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