The Dean's List

In the Blink of an Eye

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The Dean's List

In the Blink of an Eye

After 12 years as vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Daniel Kempton will bid farewell to Franciscan.

Winter 2023 | Dr. Daniel Kempton

In This Article

When a formative chapter in one’s life draws to a close, it is natural to look back and contemplate one’s failures and successes, and even the personal importance of that time. This June will mark the conclusion of my 35 years as a full-time professor and my 12th year serving as the vice president for Academic Affairs at Franciscan University.

Among failures, I count colleagues I have wronged, students I’ve let down, and myriad tasks left undone. For the former, I offer my sincere apologies. For the latter, I pray for a more efficient successor.

I also see accomplishments in which I take great pleasure. Among these are our new core curriculum, the development of our engineering programs, the launch of criminal justice, new MA programs, a healthy online program, the launch of initial global partnerships, and most importantly, the hiring of dozens of academically excellent and passionately Catholic faculty members.

Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” I have found that to be especially true at Franciscan University. Because we are the epitome of a mission-driven institution, mission success is paramount irrespective of who is credited.

More importantly, at Franciscan University, everyone works to implement not our will, but God’s will. We pray together before classes and meetings, at Mass, and in 24-hour eucharistic adoration. When a community prays together and makes conformity to God’s will its highest priority, Our Lord may pour out unlimited blessings upon it.

Even more unique than our collective accomplishments is the impact Franciscan has on everyone blessed to spend time on this hallowed ground.

One of my favorite quotes comes from St. John Paul’s encyclical, Fides et Ratio: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

I have found no better place for people to simultaneously develop their faith and reason than Franciscan University. There are myriad reasons for this.

Most obviously, the friars provide us with an unparalleled opportunity to partake of the sacraments, celebrating four daily Masses for us, offering monthly Holy Hours, and providing more confession opportunities than most parishes can conceive.

But a well-formed Catholic requires reason as well as faith, and Franciscan University is the best place for students to develop a reasoned understanding of God and the world. First, every one of our faculty members must teach consistent with Catholic teaching—and they want to do it. Second, our core curriculum offers a deep, unmatched sampling of great Catholic thought, literature, and history. Third, we regularly bring inspiring and faithful speakers to campus. Finally, I have never been a part of a community that so thoroughly commits to learning and accepting the Truth—and this goes for staff, faculty, and students.

Already in my fifth decade when I arrived at Franciscan University, I have grown so much in my faith and in my life here. I have learned from colleagues and so many good and holy friars, who understood and lived the faith so deeply. I have been enriched by many on our staff, who sacrifice daily for the mission. And finally, I have learned from my students, who give me hope for the future of the Church on earth.

I hope and pray our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends recognize their time at Franciscan University as a unique gift from Our Lord to simultaneously strengthen both their faith and reason. Take advantage and treasure it; it will pass in the blink of an eye.


Dr. Daniel R. Kempton, professor emeritus and vice president for Academic Affairs, will begin a much-deserved retirement in June.

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