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Buffalo native named as new St. Bonaventure leader

Photo from St. Bonaventure University

A Buffalo native has been named as the next president of St. Bonaventure University. Dr. Dennis DePerro was introduced to the campus community Monday morning at a news conference in the University’s Quick Center that was live streamed.   

"I'm truly humbled and honored,” DePerro stated. 

DePerro, 57, has been serving as a dean at Le Monye College's Purcell School of Professional Studies in Syracuse.  

DePerro discussed the challenges ahead for the college. He noted there are many challenges in higher education that include changing demographics, cost and working to make education accessible for all students.

Credit WBFO News photo from screenshot of live stream
Dr. Dennis DePerro (seated right) introduced as new St. Bona leader.

"American higher education today — many say that the business model is broken. There are things we need to do to bring in additional revenue streams.  The demographics are such that the number of 18-year olds is not the same as it was several years ago. There's a growing population of adult students and individuals who need to finish their bachelor degrees,” explained DePerro.

DePerro said there is much opportunity boost enrollment and generate revenue at St. Bonaventure.

"And I see a lot of opportunity for the University to really increase its enrollment and through partnerships, and other means, to increase its revenue streams so that we really truly can make St. Bonaventure financially sustainable,” remarked DePerro.

But in moving the college forward, DePerro is calling on the campus community to assist in its future success.

"I need you to help me. I need you to work together. I need you to be collaborative, innovative, and creative. We need new programs. We need new partnerships. I need your prayers and I ask you for them today,” DePerro noted.

St. Bonaventure Board of Trustees reached a decision on Sunday, November 13, voted unanimously to select DePerro following an eight-month extensive search process. The college officially announced his appointment last Friday. Nine-hundred candidates initially applied. The list was first cut to 54 and then to nine, with DePerro among the final three finalists.

“This is really a special moment in my life,” DePerro said. 

DePerro, a Bishop Timon St. Jude and Canisius College graduate, said he was drawn to the college for its Franciscan education. DePerro replaces Sr. Margaret Carney who retired in August.   

"It's not about the next five years or the next ten years. It's about the next 100 years. It's about the next 200 years," DePerro said.

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