The friars of the Holy Name Province elected Father Kevin Mullen, Siena College president, as their provincial minister on Wednesday. But in order to serve in that coveted position in the Franciscan order, Mullen will resign his post at Siena.
During his six-year term as provincial minister, Mullen will serve as the leader of the largest Franciscan community in the United States from its headquarters in New York City. Nearly 300 friars serve communities in the Holy Name Province, which covers the coast from Maine to Florida and includes some communities abroad in Asia and South America.
“Being elected provincial minister by my brothers in the Franciscan Order is a tremendous honor,” Mullen said in a statement. “I look forward to serving them well as I lead Holy Name Province the best way I know how — with compassion and through collaboration.”
A noticeable presence at Siena basketball games, the Franciscan priest came on just as the Siena men’s team was about to embark on its three-peat as MAAC champions en route to the NCAAs.
In his following years on the Loudonville campus, Mullen had a hand in many expansions of campus facilities and improvements to the academic curriculum. One such improvement includes the addition of a $50 million comprehensive campaign that Mullen says will ensure that Siena provides the education of a lifetime for years to come.
Mullen, a 1975 Siena grad, discussed his sadness about leaving his alma mater at a news conference Wednesday night
“I have mixed emotions in leaving because Siena has formed and shaped me over the past few years. Although I’m sad to leave, Siena’s mission will move forward because we have assembled a great team.”
Taking over as the interim president upon Mullen’s departure will be Franciscan friar Edward Coughlin, a 66-year-old Buffalo native.
Coughlin, who has been serving as a trustee at Siena, holds a doctorate from Catholic University of America, a master’s from Boston College and a bachelor’s from St. Bonaventure, where he has twice been the director of the Franciscan institute, overseeing the program’s course offerings and research publications.
Siena officials sound confident that Coughlin’s extensive history on numerous boards of trustees and directors makes him a great choice to continue Siena’s educational mission.
“Father Ed will continue our longstanding tradition of Franciscan leadership,” said Howard Foote, chairman of Siena’s board of trustees, “and we are devoted to sustaining strong leadership and success here at Siena.”
Foote also notes that there is no timetable to elect a full-time president, but the issue will be further discussed when the board meets later this month.
Mullen’s official resignation will be on Aug. 4, when Coughlin takes over as interim president. Though his presence will no longer be on campus, Mullen will maintain a connection to the college as a member of its board of trustees.
Confident that Siena will be in good hands upon his departure, Mullen closed his remarks by assuring: “Siena’s mission will continue long beyond Kevin Mullen.”