Wednesday April 21, 2010

Faith of the Heart

Two Marianist priests will focus efforts on strengthening the University's Catholic, Marianist identity. Father Jim Fitz, S.M., has been named rector, and Father Joe Kozar, S.M., will serve as assistant rector.

The Rev. James Fitz, S.M., assistant provincial of the Marianist Province of the United States since 2002, has been named rector at the University of Dayton. 

In his new role, the University of Dayton alumnus will focus his efforts on sustaining and strengthening the University's strong Catholic and Marianist character. The rector's position is a joint appointment between the president and the provincial.

The Rev. Joseph Kozar, S.M., assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, has been named assistant rector, a new position. Kozar, who's taught in the department of religious studies for 25 years, will serve as a liaison between the offices of the rector and provost, focusing on faculty initiatives.

Fitz, 63, will succeed the Rev. Paul Marshall, S.M., who has been named assistant for temporalities in the Marianist Province of the United States, which is based in St. Louis. This is not Fitz's first stint at the University of Dayton. He directed campus ministry and taught in the religious studies department from 1998-2002. He served on the board of trustees from 1989-1998 and rejoined the board in 2003.

"The University of Dayton's identity as a Catholic, Marianist university is a gift to the church and to the world," said Fitz, who serves on the executive committee of the University's board of trustees. "Father Joe and I will work to find creative ways to strengthen the Marianist religious faculty and staff while developing even greater lay leadership to advance the Marianist tradition of education."

Bro. Stephen Glodek, S.M., provincial, and Daniel J. Curran, president, say Fitz is an excellent fit for the rector's position.

"I am sure that Father Jim will bring to his new ministry at the University of Dayton the same deep faith, hard work, dedication and deep love of the Marianist mission to educate young people that was evidenced in his excellent work as assistant provincial of the Province of the United States," Glodek said.

Curran praised Fitz for his strong administrative skills and devotion to the University's mission.

"He believes passionately in the Marianist mission of educating students to make a real difference in their communities, their professions - and the world," Curran said. "I look forward to working with Father Jim, Father Joe and the campus community in strengthening our shared commitment to the University's religious heritage."

In previous ministries, Fitz served as provincial and director of novices at the former Province of Cincinnati, coordinated adult religious education for the diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., and taught religion at Monsignor Hackett High School in Kalamazoo.

Fitz joined the Marianists in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1974. An Akron, Ohio, native, he holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in historical theology from St. Louis University.

Kozar made first vows in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1977. A Pittsburgh native, he holds bachelor's and master's degrees in theological studies from the University of Dayton and two degrees from the University of St. Michael's College ¿ a master's of divinity and a Ph.D. in scripture.

The Society of Mary is an international religious order characterized by a special devotion to Mary, mother of Jesus, and a faith that builds community through service. The University of Dayton, founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary, is a top-tier Catholic research university.

For more information, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3255 or