St. Bonaventure University will honor a St. Bonaventure institution at its 163rd Commencement Exercises Sunday, May 14.
Fr. Dan Riley, ofm, one of the most beloved Franciscan friars in university history, will receive an honorary doctorate and give the keynote address to the Class of 2023. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Reilly Center Arena.
“I can’t think of a better living embodiment of all that’s good about St. Bonaventure than Fr. Dan,” said Dr. Jeff Gingerich, university president. “And I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor. The impact he’s had on our students, both while they were here and long after they left as alumni, is immeasurable.”
A member of the Class of 1964, Fr. Dan has been the charismatic face of St. Bonaventure for more than 50 years. Only twice since he walked onto campus as a freshman in 1960 has Fr. Dan not been part of the university community: from 1964-1971 and 1974-1978 when he was assigned elsewhere in the Northeast by Holy Name Province.
In 1974, Fr. Dan founded the Warming House in Olean, the nation’s oldest student-run soup kitchen, while he was the assistant spiritual director at the university.
In 1978, when he returned to Bonaventure as regional vocation director and campus minister, Fr. Dan gathered with students, Franciscan sisters and others to consider the formation of a Franciscan Mountain Community dedicated to contemplation and simple living for people of diverse backgrounds.
Six years later, the Mt. Irenaeus Board of Trustees purchased 204 acres in West Clarksville, New York, culminating with the dedications of Holy Peace Chapel in 1990 and the Mountain’s signature common house, the House of Peace, in 1995. Holy Peace Friary was established in 1990 with three Franciscan friars in residence at the Mountain: Fr. Dan, Fr. Joe Kotula, ofm, and the late Fr. Dan Hurley, ofm.
Fr. Dan, who has led Mt. Irenaeus since its inception, took the show on the road in the early 1990s. His Mountain on the Road events, an outreach of the Mt. Irenaeus experience, continue today, offering spirituality through discussion and prayer several times a year across the nation.
Last fall, Fr. Dan released his first book, “Franciscan Lectio: Reading the World through the Living Word” published by Paraclete Press.
Fr. Dan, a native of Rochester, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Bonaventure and a master’s degree in theology from Washington Theological Union. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1965, professing first vows in 1966 and his final vows in 1970. He was ordained by Bishop Joseph Bernadin in 1971.
For more information about Commencement, go to www.sbu.edu/Commencement. Many of the events will be livestreamed at https://video.ibm.com/channel/st-bonaventure-university-live-stream.