PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — Jesuit Father Terrence Toland, who as president of St. Joseph’s College welcomed the admission of women to the school, died of heart failure Oct. 18. He was 90.
A funeral Mass was planned for Oct. 28 at St. Matthias Church in Bala Cynwyd.
A priest for 61 years, Father Toland served as an educator and administrator mainly in Philadelphia and Baltimore. At St. Joseph’s, which later became a university, he was known for his collaborative style of leadership and often met with students to discuss their needs and concerns.
Jesuit Father C. Kevin Gillespie, St. Joseph’s University president, said Father Toland served as a welcomed adviser and supporter.
“I shall miss his wise advice, often expressed with an Irish smile,” Father Gillespie said in a statement.
Jesuit Father Charles Currie, who served on St. Joseph’s board of trustees during Father Toland’s presidency, recalled his friend as a person who readily engaged others. Father Currie is also the former president of the Washington-based Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
“Terry was always collaborative and collegial. He was very effective in bringing people together to talk and try to understand one another,” Father Currie told Catholic News Service.
During his decade at St. Joseph’s, Father Toland was executive vice president from 1966 to 1968 and then served as president for eight years, retiring in 1976. Under his leadership, St. Joseph’s formalized procedures for faculty tenure and contracts, developed stronger faculty governance, improved academic quality and faculty research, built a science center and LaFarge Residence Hall, and established the Office of Campus Ministry and the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations.
In 2012, St. Joseph’s University named a building in his honor. Toland Hall houses art studios and the St. Joseph’s University Press.
Father Toland received the Theodore Hesburgh CSC Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in 2001. In presenting the award, the association recognized his “‘magnum opus’ of crafting many-faced reconciliations and a new solidary to Catholic education at the national level.”
Father Toland was born Nov. 25, 1922, in Philadelphia. He was ordained a priest in the Jesuit order in 1952. He earned a licentiate in sacred theology from Woodstock College in Maryland and a doctor of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Father Toland began his academic career as professor of theology and dean at Woodstock College. After his retirement from St. Joseph’s, he served as campus minister and rector at Loyola College (now University) in Baltimore; provincial assistant for higher education at the Jesuit province in Maryland, director of the Jesuit Retreat Center in Annapolis, Md., and dean and academic vice president at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
He then became project director for implementing “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” (“From the Heart of the Church”), an apostolic constitution issued in 1990 by Blessed John Paul II that outlines the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities, for the U.S. bishops’ conference from 1994 to 1999.
Subsequently he was director for mission reflection at Scranton University in Pennsylvania, rector and assistant to the president at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and in parish ministry at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia.
Father Toland is survived by his sister, Patricia Hyland, and several nieces and nephews and their children.
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