Father Michael Scanlan, who transformed struggling College of Steubenville into the Franciscan University of Steubenville in the 1970s, died this morning, the university announced. He was 85.
Father Scanlan served as president from 1974 to 2000, chancellor from 2000 to 2011 and as president emeritus since retiring that year. He died this morning at Garvey Manor, a Catholic nursing home in Hollidaysburg.
Father Scanlan took over struggling Steubenville College in 1974 when it had just over 1,000 students and substantial debt. Using his background as a Harvard-educated lawyer, Father Scanlan led a period of growth and change at the school — paying off debt by 1983, adding graduate programs to become a university, introducing religious training programs and increasing enrollment to more than 2,100 by 2000.
Father Scanlan was born in 1931 in Cedarhurst, N.Y. He received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College and law degree from Harvard in 1956. After serving as staff judge advocate in the Air Force, he decided to become a priest and was ordained in the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 1964.
He served five years as dean and director of the honors program at College of Steubenville and five years as rector-president at St. Francis Seminary in Loretto before being named president at Steubenville.
Father Scanlan also was an early leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal movement and wrote or helped to write more than 16 books and pamphlets.
No dates or times have been set yet, but the university said there will be a viewing and memorial mass there and a Mass of Christian Burial at the Third Order Regular Motherhouse in Loretto.