Reed Pays Tribute to President Reverend Brian Shanley of Providence College
Madam President, I rise to join my colleague from Rhode Island in celebrating the tenure of Reverend Brian J. Shanley as the 12th president of Providence College.
As he completes his service, we thank him for his many contributions to the intellectual, social, and spiritual life in Providence. A native of Warwick, RI, and a graduate of Toll Gate High School, Father Shanley raised the national profile of Providence College, strengthening its academic programs, transforming and modernizing the campus, and fielding championship athletic teams.
During his presidency, the college established its first Center for Global Education, the East and West Campuses were finally connected, and the Friars brought home the 2014 Big East Men’s Basketball Championship and the 2015 NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship. But the extent of his impact on students and the community is much broader than academic rankings, innovative land use, and sports. He advanced the mission of the college as an ‘‘institution of higher education and a community committed to academic excellence in pursuit of the truth, growth in virtue, and service of God and neighbor.’’
The motto of Providence College and the Dominican Order is ‘‘Veritas’’ or ‘‘Truth.’’ As president, Father Shanley worked to create an environment where students could discover truth both academically and spiritually. He established an Office of Mission and Ministry. Under his leadership, Providence College students have performed thousands of hours of community service in the city and beyond. The search for truth has also led to a greater commitment to racial and social justice on campus.
When students occupied his office, calling for action on diversity and inclusion, Father Shanley met with them and agreed to concreate actions to promote diversity and inclusion in academics and other aspects of campus life. During his tenure the college also established the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
As a scholar of philosophy, Father Shanley follows the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, another Dominican friar, who wrote that it is ‘‘better to illuminate than merely shine to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.’’ That is the kind of leadership Father Shanley has provided to Providence College for these past 15 years. He will be missed on campus and around town. I wish him well in his next endeavors and thank him for his service.