Faculty and staff of St. Viator High School gathered for a rare announcement on Wednesday: The leader of the Viatorian Community, Fr. Thomas von Behren, C.S.V., named Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., as the school's newest president, effective July 1, for a term of at least three years.
Fr. Brost, who has served as vice president of mission effectiveness for the last two years at the school, replaces Fr. Robert M. Egan, C.S.V., who has been president for eight years.
Fr. von Behren, provincial and president of the high school's board of governors, stressed how important it is to continue having a Viatorian lead the school.
"I am proud to say that St. Viator High School is one of the few Catholic high schools in the Chicago area that can point to having 11 of their community members on the faculty of their own school," Fr. von Behren said. "The Viatorians are committed to St. Viator High School today and for decades to come."
Fr. Brost first met Fr. von Behren when von Behren was his religion teacher in Springfield, IL. Fr. Brost earned his undergraduate degree in journalism and a law degree from the University of Illinois before starting his career at St. Viator High School in 1987 as a religion teacher. It was the first year St. Viator had coed students, and Fr. Brost helped merge the Sacred Heart and Saint Viator newspapers as moderator.
Fr. Brost entered the Viatorian Community as a religious brother. For more than 25 years, he worked as a youth educator and campus minister for Viatorian schools and parishes throughout the country.
In 2006, Fr. Brost was ordained a priest, after earning master's degrees in pastoral studies at Loyola University and in divinity from Catholic Theological Union.
"When I came back here six years ago, I thought I was going to be teaching freshmen religion," Fr. Brost told the faculty. "But day after day, I am inspired, challenged and in awe of you. I see miracles happen every day at this school."
Fr. von Behren said Fr. Egan leaves the school on solid ground.
"He has brought new life to the mission of the school," Fr. von Behren said, "and leaves with nothing but great possibilities before it."
Fr. Egan brought a unique perspective to his role, having attended the school himself, graduating in 1969. He went on to teach at the school, head the Clerics of St. Viator as provincial, serve as pastor at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, and ultimately lead the Arlington Heights high school starting in 2005.
Among his achievements at St. Viator:
• Instituted drug testing.
• Doubled tuition assistance from $670,000 in 2005 to $1.3 million (so far) this year.
• Made it a requirement for students to complete 100 hours of community service in order to graduate.
• Shepherded the $10 million "Shaping the Future with Faith" capital campaign, which will add classrooms, a new cafeteria, student commons area and fine arts studios and rehearsal space.
"He has certainly modeled the Viatorian motto, 'Bring the children to me,'" said Eileen Manno, principal of St. Viator. "He always put the students first."
In late summer, Fr. Egan will join the staff at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas.
Fr. Brost, C.S.V., has continued to serve as chairman of the religion department and head of the vocation office for the Viatorians while serving in the high school's administration.
This summer, however, he will devote himself full time to leading the school.
Among his achievements:
• Designed the decade-old Bridges Retreat while serving at a Springfield parish. Students from both St. Viator and Waukegan's St. Martin de Porres meet over two days to discuss racial tension.
• Founded the Children of Abraham Coalition, which brings suburban teens and adults of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths together through a shared lineage. Group members exchange their stories and work together on service projects for organizations such as Arlington Heights PADS program.
"I am confident that Corey will bring great leadership, passion and vision to the school, while maintaining the traditions and mission that makes St. Viator such a great school and community," said Fr. von Behren.
For updates on all activities related to St. Viator High School, visit www.saintviator.com, follow the school on Facebook or @saintviatorhs on Twitter.