‘To many more years’: Joseph Foy inaugurated as Benedictine University’s 13th president

Benedictine University students and faculty members formally welcomed Joseph Foy as the school’s 13th president with a tradition-filled celebration on Friday.

Dressed in full academic regalia, Foy assumed the articles of office in an investiture ceremony on the Lisle campus. Bishop Ronald Hicks of the Diocese of Joliet invoked Latin — “Ad multos annos” — for the occasion.

The phrase means “to many more years,” but it’s also a “great expression of goodwill, of congratulations and also a longevity of life and service,” Hicks said, presiding over an installation Mass at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Naperville.

“Joining this Benedictine community, you've said ‘yes,’” Hicks told Foy and his family. “And as you continue to move forward with your leadership … to all of you, I sincerely say, Ad multos annos.”

Foy is no stranger to Latin. As he settled into his role as university president — the Wyoming native took the helm in July — Foy was reading daily from the Rule of St. Benedict, a guidebook for sixth-century monks, and embracing the Benedictine “hallmark of hospitality.” The university bears the name of St. Benedict of Nursia.

  Katherine Donofrio, chair of Benedictine University’s board of trustees, presents the presidential medallion to Joseph J. Foy on Friday in the Goodwin Hall of Business auditorium at Benedictine University in Lisle. Brian Hill/

Foy’s inauguration also coincides with the 137th anniversary of the university’s founding this Saturday.

Benedictine monks founded the school in 1887 as St. Procopius College in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood to educate young men of Czechoslovakian descent. The school moved to Lisle and dedicated its first building on the campus, originally nothing more than a farm, in 1901.

  Joseph J. Foy speaks after being inaugurated Friday as the 13th president of Benedictine University in Lisle. Brian Hill/

A self-described “empathetic introvert,” Foy previously served as interim president and vice president for academic affairs at Alverno College in Milwaukee, a smaller Catholic liberal arts school for women.

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