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Local News

Romeoville's Lewis University picks new leader

New president hails from Catholic university in Ohio

David Livingston
David Livingston

ROMEOVILLE — A new president will lead Lewis University in July.

David Livingston, president of Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, was selected to succeed Brother James Gaffney, who will retire June 30, university officials announced Monday.

Livingston was chosen following a national search by a search committee and the Lewis University Board of Trustees, according to a Lewis news release. 

“As higher education transforms across the nation, we believe [Livingston] is the best person to lead Lewis University in its mission to provide a Lasallian education,” stated Russ Smyth, board chairman, in the news release.

Livingston said he was excited about the opportunity. 

“Lewis is a great institution,” he said Monday. 

Livingston has been the Lourdes University president since 2013 and during his tenure the university experienced an increase in the quality, retention and graduation rates of its students, according to the release. 

Lourdes University is a Catholic institution established in 1958 by the Sisters of St. Francis. 

Livingston said he spent his entire life in Catholic higher education. Lewis University is one of the strongest Catholic universities in the Chicago area and nationwide, he said.

He said he loves the mission of the Lasallian brothers.

In 1960, the De La Salle Christian Brothers brought to Lewis a new tradition of Lasallian values, based on the teachings of St. John Baptist de La Salle, founder and patron saint of educators, according to the university’s website

“The Lasallian brothers both here and around the world are very committed to students,” Livingston said.

As president, Livingston said he hopes to be able to continue the great strides Lewis University made under Gaffney, who has worked for the university for 28 years. 

Gaffney was inaugurated as Lewis University president in October 1988.

“He’s done amazing things,” Livingston said.

Livingston said he’d like to also internationalize the campus as students expect to receive an education with a global perspective. The university will also continue to grow new programs, he said. 

Livingston is a Dundee native who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augustana College in Rock Island, according to the release. He completed a master’s degree in theology at Loyola University in Chicago and a doctorate in theology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Before serving as president of Lourdes University, he worked at Mercyhurst University for 16 years.

He also taught religious studies at Loyola Academy High School in Wilmette, Vanderbilt University, University of St. Francis in Joliet, Joliet Catholic Academy and Loyola University.

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