May 9, 2017

Dr. Robert A. Pastoor has submitted his letter of resignation, effective May 12, 2017, to the Saint Joseph’s College Board of Trustees. He has been working with his cabinet, other employees and Board members to assure a smooth transition upon his departure.  In his letter Dr. Pastoor writes, “While I have only held the position of president for a little more than two years I have grown to truly value many of the faculty and staff whom have dedicated their lives to the College. It has been a privilege to get to know so many of the young men and women who attended Saint Joseph’s.”

Dr. Pastoor has served as SJC’s president since March 16, 2015. His term came at a very difficult time in the 128-year history of the College, as a weakening financial base made its future precarious. He arrived with high hopes to reinvigorate Saint Joseph's College and soon began a process of strategic planning, enlisting help from students, faculty, staff and alumni to meet and talk about ways the College could be strengthened and its mission carried forward. Unfortunately, financial difficulties continued to mount and proposals to fix those problems were ultimately deemed unworkable, atleast in a realistic time frame.

On February 3, 2017, Dr. Pastoor was on hand when the Board voted to suspend operations at the College at the end of the current academic term, which ended with commencement on May 6, 2017.

"During his tenure with the College, Dr. Pastoor worked tirelessly to do all he could to help Saint Joseph's thrive," said Benedict Sponseller, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “He stepped into an extremely difficult situation and did not shy away from the associated challenges. I thank Bob and his wife, Ann Marie Lynch, for their countless sacrifices.”

The decision to suspend operations at the College affects many lives on campus and in the surrounding Rensselaer community. Dr. Pastoor, who moved his family to Rensselaer and embraced life in the community, feels that acutely, Sponseller said.

“We hope that living through this experience with the Saint Joseph’s College family will help Dr. Pastoor in his future work, wherever he chooses to take it,” Sponseller said. “Everyone involved with the College carries the spirit of Saint Joseph's out into the world. That spirit remains strong and vibrant, even in these difficult days. It marks us and changes us."

The College itself is destined to change in the days and months ahead, as a team continues to work on a transition into a new beginning. The Board has directed that team to explore options in keeping with the mission of the College and of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, the religious congregation that founded the school in 1889.

During his time at Saint Joseph’s, Dr. Pastoor noted, “I have also come to gain a profound appreciation for the work and dedication of Missionaries of the Precious Blood here and abroad.”

Fr. Larry Hemmelgarn, C.PP.S., provincial director of the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the College, said that Dr. Pastoor’s commitment to the College was inspiring. “We all wish that Dr. Pastoor had had more time to act on plans he had put in motion to revitalize the College. We really believed in his vision and leadership, and we supported his efforts,” Fr. Hemmelgarn said. “Time ran out for all of us.”

Dr. Pastoor’s letter of resignation also thanked Sheila Hanewich, the administrative assistant who served five of the College’s presidents, and the “dedicated men and women” of his cabinet.

“I wish all those who remain the very best as you begin the extremely important task of revitalizing Saint Joseph’s College within the next two years,” Pastoor added.