Thursday, June 15, 2000

Thomas More's president stepping down

Cleves wants to return to teaching

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Once teaching gets in your blood it is hard to get it out, said the Rev. William F. Cleves, president of Thomas More College.

        Father Cleves said he is stepping down as president of the college to return to the classroom.

        “For those of us who love teaching, it is something you can't get away from,” Father Cleves said. “I have enjoyed being president of this college, but I missed teaching and the sacramental ministry.”

        Father Cleves was appointed president of Thomas More in 1992 after teaching for nine years there. At that time, he said, he accepted a five-year term.

        “I will have completed nine years as president this fall,” he said. “I want to get back to the classroom.”

        He said he had been praying about the move and recently talked with the bishop about it. The executive committee of the board of trustees approved his move Monday.

        “I will remain until a pres ident is found. Then I will serve as vice chancellor of the college,” he said.

        His work as president was built on his foundation as a faculty member.

        “Rev. Cleves came up through the faculty ranks, and when he became president he had strong faculty and student respect and support,” said Bob Edwards,

        spokesman for the college. “I think he has a strong desire to get back to pastoral duties, which is what he is good at. He has been a great president, dedicated and hard-working.”

        It's a good time to get back in the classroom, Father Cleves said.

        “We will have 300 freshmen coming in. That is the largest freshman enrollment ever at the college. The entire enrollment at the college is only 1,500,” he said.

        He said he plans to again teach philosophy and theology.

        Father Cleves, 45, has been a priest for 22 years and said that as president, he has missed presiding at sacramental celebrations, duties he thinks a priest should be performing.

        He will continue to help with fund raising, which was one of the highlights of his presidency. During his tenure the college built a $3 million student center. He led the college in a capital campaign that raised $6.2 million.

        Under his tenure, the college also started its accelerated business degree programs for working adults. It also conducts several community outreach program.

        It has added several athletic fields and expanded its sports programs.

        Thomas More is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report.

        Father Cleves was ordained in 1978 at the Vatican. He returned to the United States in 1981 and became part of the faculty at Thomas More.


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