Alum James J. Greenfield elected fourth president

Photo courtesy of DeSales.

By Kellie Dietrich


The Board of Trustees elected Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS as the University’s fourth president and is the first alumnus of the University to fill the role. His tenure will begin January 1, 2018. Greenfield is succeeding the retiring Rev. Bernard O’Connor, OSFS, who has served as president since 1999.

“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.

Currently, Greenfield is 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. As provincial, he manages all human resource and development programs that deal with identity, missions, trends of vocations and religious life.

“I am esteemed by the trust of the Board to be chosen as president, and I am honored to follow Fr. O’Connor,” 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.”

Greenfield graduated from DeSales in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in politics. He also earned a master of divinity degree at the DeSales School of Theology, a master’s degree in counseling and also a doctoral degree in human development at The George Washington University.

Greenfield is chair of the Salesianum School and Nativity Prepartory School, both in Wilmington, Del. Additionally, in Philadelphia he is a trustee on the board of Father Judge High School and Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School.

In 2013, he was elected a three-year term as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), which represent 17,000 priests and brothers who are members of religious orders.

In the past, Greenfield was an adjunct lecturer at The George Washington University, The Catholic University of America and the former Washington Theological Union.

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