assistant to the U.S. president and director of the country’s Office of
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was named president of the
America's First Benedictine College earlier this week.
H. James Towey has been named the 16th president of the Saint Vincent College, effective July 1. The 160-year-old liberal arts and sciences college is sponsored by the Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey.
"The liberal arts education that is offered here is desperately needed in a culture often lacking direction and values and intellectual curiosity," Towey said in a press release.
"The common ground upon which we [staff and administration] stand is our shared desire to make sure those enrolled here have the opportunity to grow academically, spiritually, morally and socially so that their lives can be a gift for others," he said.
Saint Vincent’s College has 1,600, students from 25 U.S. states and 13 foreign countries. More than 12,000 alumni reside in all 50 states and 29 foreign countries or territories.
Christopher Donahue, chairman of the board of directors, said the college considered applications from 70 candidates across the country.
Towey has been assistant to the U.S. president since February 2002 and director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He served as a member of the President's Senior Staff and reported directly to the president on matters pertaining to church-state and religious liberty issues, federal grants to religious and community-based charities and corporate and foundation grant-making to social service agencies.
In 1996, he founded Aging with Dignity, a national non-profit organization to help individuals and their families plan for and receive care during times of serious illness.
As Secretary of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Towey served as a member of the Governor's Cabinet and administered the largest state health and social services agency in the country.
Towey represented the late Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity on legal matters in the United States and Canada for 12 years, from 1985 until her death. He served nearly two years as a fulltime volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity.
He has been honored many times for his public service including six honorary doctoral degrees and the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Papal Cross from His Holiness John Paul II. He was also recognized by Church World magazine for being one of Fifty Most Influential Christians in America.
Towey, 49, is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He and his wife, Mary, have five children.