ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (WIVB) – St. Bonaventure has found a replacement for university president Dr. Dennis DePerro.

Dr. Jeff Gingerich was announced Tuesday as the 22nd president in school history. He is currently the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Scranton.

Gingerich will replace Dr. Joseph Zimmer, who has served as acting president since DePerro died in March 2021 following a battle with Covid-19. His term begins June 20.

“Seldom in life do you see so many points of interest intersect on one conclusion, but in this case, all facets of the university community converged on a singular belief — that Jeff should be our next president,” said John Sheehan, chair of St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees.

St. Bonaventure will introduce Gingerich at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the university’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Members of the campus community are invited to attend.

According to a press release, the university’s trustees were unanimous in their selection of Gingerich.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I’ve been given to join the Bonaventure community,” Gingerich said. “I have always had such deep respect and admiration for the Franciscans. Their humility, reflection and sense of community are fundamental in the way I strive to live my life.”

Before Scranton, Gingerich spent more than 18 years at Cabrini University in suburban Philadelphia, where he taught in the Department of Sociology and Criminology (2005-18) and served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs (2014-18), St. Bonaventure said in a press release. He also had stints as acting president at Scranton and Cabrini, which are both Catholic institutions. 

Gingerich is also co-executive editor of “Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice,” a scholarly journal founded to advance the intersection of theory and practice in the pursuit of social justice through faith traditions, the school said in its release.

Before entering higher education, Gingerich spent six years as a voluntary service worker in New Orleans, coordinating conflict resolution programming at the Twomey Center for Peace through Justice at Loyola University.

“The man starts his career serving the poor in New Orleans. How incredible is that?” said Michael Hill, who co-chaired the search committee. “What better role model could we have for our students?

“One of the friars stopped me at the Beef ‘N’ Barrel (restaurant) and by then he had seen all of the candidates,” Hill added. “So I asked him, ‘What are your general impressions so far?’ And he told me, ‘That guy walks with (Saint) Francis.’ That comment was representative of the views of many trustees – that he’ll fit seamlessly into a place as special as Bonaventure.”

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here