WASHINGTON (May 9, 1997) — Father James Ronan, Executive Director of the Bishops' Secretariat for the Church in Latin America, will return to his alma mater this weekend to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Father Ronan graduated in 1968 from St. Francis College in Maine, which 10 years later merged with the New England University of Osteopathic Medicine to become the University of New England. With its main campus located in Biddeford, Maine, the University of New England is an independent, coeducational university on the coast of southern Maine, with degree programs focused on the health and life sciences, human services, and management.
After graduating from St. Francis College, Father Ronan earned a master's degree in Counseling Psychology and a doctorate in Administration and Psychology from Boston College. He is a licensed psychologist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
He served as Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs at Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, and taught psychology and administration at Bentley, Boston College, and Framingham State College.
In 1978, Father Ronan left Bentley to begin his studies for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts, and he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston on June 5, 1982. He served six years as an associate pastor in Medford-Malden, Massachusetts, before joining the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, serving another six years as the pastor of La Parroquia Santa Marianita in Duran, Ecuador.
In September 1994, Father Ronan became Executive Director of the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Secretariat oversees an national collection for the Church in Latin America which annually raises approximately $5 million. Father Ronan, as executive director, coordinates a grant program funded by the collection which reaches 766 dioceses throughout 39 countries in the region.
Commencement exercises at the University of New England are scheduled for Saturday, May 10.