Father John Malone named vice president for mission; Dr. Mark Neuzil to become director of Office for Mission

Father John Malone named vice president for mission;
Dr. Mark Neuzil to become director of Office for Mission

It is a pleasure to announce that Father John Malone will become vice president for mission at the University of St. Thomas, effective July 1, and that Dr. Mark Neuzil will become director of the Office for Mission.

Father John Malone

Father Malone will succeed Gene Scapanski, who has retired after serving St. Thomas and the St. Paul Seminary for 33 years as a professor, administrator and, since 2003, the university's first vice president for mission.

Dr. Neuzil, who has taught at St. Thomas since 1993, will develop programs related to the university's mission and will continue to teach in the Department of Communication and Journalism.

I believe Father Malone will be effective in his new position as vice president for mission because of the breadth and depth of his experience as a professor, pastor, lawyer and counselor to so many people over the last four decades.

Most recently, since his retirement last fall as pastor of Assumption Catholic Church in downtown St. Paul, he has served as a special assistant in my office. He has a clear understanding of – and a deep appreciation for – our mission as a Catholic university, and I know he will be a passionate and articulate proponent of that mission in the years ahead.

I met Father Malone more than four decades ago and greatly admire his many skills as a fellow priest, an educator and an advocate for the less fortunate. As I wrote in my St. Thomas magazine column about Father Malone last winter, "In a word, he cares. It doesn't make a whit of difference to him whether a person is a friend or a stranger, rich or poor, powerful or powerless. If the person needs help, Father Malone provides it."

He is a St. Paul native and attended Nazareth Hall and the St. Paul Seminary, from which he was ordained in 1967. He earned a law degree, taught business law at St. Thomas for more than 25 years, did pro bono work for people who couldn't afford a lawyer, worked at the Ramsey County Public Defenders Office and served as pastor of Assumption. His honors include the Ramsey County Bar Association's Humanitarian Award in 1999 and the St. Thomas More Award from the Lawyers Guild of St. Thomas More in 2004.

Father Michael O'Connell had this description of his long-time close friend when citing Father Malone's contributions in a St. Paul Pioneer Press story last fall: "He was taught to reach out to the poor and to seek justice, and he is not afraid to speak his mind." In the same story, his sister, Kathleen Stroh, called him "a champion of the poor and the sinners … . He's awesome, and he's my hero."

When he retired from Assumption, Father Malone told me that he wanted to spend more time at St. Thomas, and I was happy to oblige him. I know how well he relates to students and to alumni, thousands of whom he taught, and I knew he would be a perfect ambassador for the university as he carried out myriad assignments.

Dr. Mark Neuzil

Dr. Neuzil is a native of Solon, Iowa. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Iowa State University, a master's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in mass communication from Minnesota.

He worked at newspapers in Ames, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, Iowa, and in New Ulm, Minn., and wrote for United Press International before joining the Associated Press in 1990 while pursuing his doctorate. He also has worked as a writer and copy editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Dr. Neuzil joined the St. Thomas faculty in 1993, served as chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2001 to 2005 and holds the rank of professor. He has written four books, including A Spiritual Field Guide: Meditations for the Outdoors, with Dr. Bernard Brady, Theology, and his fifth book, The Environment and the Press: From Adventure Writing to Advocacy, will be published in July.

Please join me in congratulating Father Malone and Dr. Neuzil on their appointments.