Dr. Shawn Flynn Appointed President of St. Joseph’s College

06 April 2021

Dr. Shawn Flynn appointed President of St. Joseph’s College

Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, is pleased to announce that the Board of Governors of St. Joseph's College (SJC) has appointed its new President. Dr. Shawn Flynn will assume this role on July 1, 2021 for a five-year appointment.

Flynn is eager to begin his new role. “St Joseph’s College has so much to offer the University of Alberta, the province, and beyond. Students, professors, community members, our board, alumni, and our worshipping community all have important roles to celebrate and benefit from the SJC experience. I am excited to continue telling the SJC story rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, to slowly welcome back our community to campus, and to prepare for our 100 years celebrations. I encourage everyone to share the fruits of our tradition and our exciting future.”

Flynn has served SJC since 2017 as the Academic Dean, then Vice President (Academic), Dean, and most recently as Interim President. He is an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and earned his PhD at the University of Toronto. In his academic role, Flynn has produced three monographs and one edited collection with publishers such as Brill, Oxford University Press, and Routledge. Flynn's research area in the Hebrew Bible in its ancient context, focuses on topics such as God in the Hebrew Bible, as well as children in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East.

While teaching and staying active with research, Flynn has provided leadership for the academic affairs of the College. In this role, Flynn has led SJC in strong enrolments. Enrolments historically around 1,900 when Flynn arrived have now risen to 2600 during his tenure. He has also led increasing partnerships and interaction between SJC and the University of Alberta community, attracted a major scholarly conference to the College, as well as engaged the College with Catholic school boards and Catholic Health, all through promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to these strategic partnerships. During Flynn's tenure, SJC courses have seen the introduction of consistent TA support, the Certificate of Catholic Education has been revised and doubled its enrolments through new community partnerships, SJC has welcomed a new Director of Library Services, and the Peter and Doris Kule Lecturer in Catholic Education has been filled.

President Flynn has most recently seen SJC through many challenging issues related to the pandemic and has shown strong leadership. Flynn sees great opportunities in the teaching and research diversity that St. Joseph’s College can continue offering to students at the University of Alberta.

The Most Reverend Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, and SJC Board of Governors Chair believes Flynn has all the qualities needed to provide insightful and compassionate leadership:

I am delighted to welcome Dr. Shawn Flynn as the new President of Saint Joseph’s College. I look forward to the wise, visionary leadership he is certain to offer this vibrant and faith-filled academic community. On behalf of the Board of Governors, I extend to Dr. Flynn our heartfelt congratulations on his appointment, and the assurance of our ready support.

The Very Revered Kevin J. Storey, CSB, Superior General of the Congregation of St. Basil (Basilian Fathers) believes that Flynn will be an outstanding first lay President of SJC:

On behalf of the Basilian community we are confident and delighted that Dr. Shawn Flynn will be advancing the Catholic mission and identity of St. Joe’s and we look forward to partnering with Dr. Flynn and the Board to respond in creative ways to educate the next generation of students.   

Patrick Dumelie, CEO, Covenant Health believes Flynn will play an important role in the Catholic community:

Shawn is a super-skilled individual and will serve the College well as its first lay President.  I have worked with Shawn and serve on various committees in our Catholic community and I am impressed with his knowledge and his ability to share it in a way that resonates with various audiences.  He is an educator and a researcher and will continue to serve the College and our Catholic partners well.

Dr. Doris Kieser, Associate Professor, SJC, who served on the selection committee, is very enthusiastic with the appointment of Flynn:

As we now welcome Dr. Shawn Flynn as our first lay President, I am filled with hope for the mission of the College. Shawn has given his time and energy generously to SJC as both the Academic Dean and the Interim President, and in each of these roles he has served with faith, creativity, and determination. At this moment in the history of St. Joseph's College, I cannot imagine a more qualified and committed person to lead this community and I welcome him with joy!

Alexis Pfeffer, who served as the student representative on the selection committee agrees:

I am very pleased that Dr. Shawn Flynn has accepted the role of President of St. Josephs College. Shawn's dedication to the College is evident in everything he does. Shawn has put in a tremendous effort to make connections with the students and be involved in the student community. He has gone out of his way to show his appreciation for and support of student groups working within St. Joseph's College. These are uncertain times, but with a dedicated leader such as Shawn, I feel a renewed sense of hope for the future of St. Joseph's College.

Marion Haggarty-France, Chair, Search and Selection Advisory Committee added:

As Chair of the committee, I was pleased with the process and proud of our committee who were deeply committed to finding the right president for SJC. The committee worked through a wide-ranging consultation process, invested in learning about hiring a president virtually, and connected with a community along the way.  We honored the process and the people who put their faith in us, and produced a candidate that we know can serve the College immediately and into the future.  We are thrilled with the outcome and know that Shawn will make valuable contributions.

About St. Joseph’s College

As the Catholic college affiliated with the University of Alberta, St. Joseph's College is committed to engaging with and promoting the Church's traditional openness to exploring the unity of Faith and Reason. 

Through its academic program, which is supported and enhanced by a flourishing worshipping community and by residence programs for female and male students that focus on their holistic development, it provides opportunities for all constituents of the College, including those who are not of the Catholic faith, to gain an ever-deeper understanding of and appreciation for the nature of Creation, as well as to commit to its preservation.

As an inclusive community open to all and grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, St. Joseph’s College strives to contribute to the building of a world in which the common good of all is of paramount importance.

Dr. Shawn Flynn will serve as the first lay president of the College and will continue to keep the strong connection to the Basilian community in this role. He is the 19th president of St Joseph’s College.