DeSales University Board Of Trustees Names Fourth President

by Tom McNamara | Mar 16, 2017

James Greenfield, OSFS

The Board of Trustees of DeSales University today elected Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, the University’s fourth president.  Fr. Greenfield will begin his tenure on January 1, 2018, succeeding the retiring Rev. Bernard F. O’Connor, OSFS, who has served as president since 1999.

James Greenfield, OSFSFr. Greenfield (right) will be the first alumnus of the University to serve as president.  He is currently provincial of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, leader of 145 priests, brothers, and seminarians who serve along the east coast.  Working as provincial, he directed all human resource and development programs for the Oblates on matters of identity, mission, and trends of vocations, and religious life.

Upon Fr. O’Connor’s retirement in May, Dr. Gerard J. Joyce, vice president of student life at DeSales, will serve as interim president until Fr. Greenfield begins his term of service.  Dr. Joyce is a graduate of DeSales University and has worked there since 1991.

“The Trustees are pleased to announce this appointment of Fr. Greenfield,” said W. Douglas Brown, chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Fr. Greenfield has been a member of the Board at DeSales for nearly 15 years, so he is well known to them and the greater DeSales community.  The Board of Trustees is grateful to Fr. O’Connor for his vision and dedicated leadership of the University during the past 18 years,” added Brown.

“I am esteemed by the trust of the Board to be chosen as president, and I am honored to follow Fr. O’Connor,” Fr. Greenfield said.  “His leadership has strengthened the University’s mission greatly, and I look forward to continuing his legacy of a Salesian community of learning that advances the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, our patron.  From my time as a student and now proud alumnus and trustee, I have experienced firsthand the deepening of the school’s commitment to forming students in our rich Catholic tradition, especially through its high quality teaching, impressive academic offerings, and varied student programs.  I am excited to help build on these strengths.”

Previously, Fr. Greenfield was an adjunct lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America, and the former Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., where he taught required courses in human development.

Fr. Greenfield serves on the board at Salesianum School, where he is chair, and Nativity Preparatory School, both in Wilmington, Del.  He is also a trustee on the board of Father Judge High School and Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, both in Philadelphia. In 2013, he was elected to a three-year term by the leaders of religious communities of men in the United States to serve as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), representing the nation’s 17,000 priests and brothers who are members of religious orders. 

Fr. Greenfield earned his bachelor’s degree in politics (1984) at DeSales University, a master of divinity degree (1990) at the DeSales School of Theology, a master’s degree in counseling (1992) and a doctoral degree in human development (1998) at The George Washington University.  He is also a certified pastoral counselor and author of a number of articles on religious life, life-long faith formation and the intersection of spirituality and human development.


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Tom McNamara
Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219
Tom.McNamara@desales.edu