Franciscan taps Dentino as next VP of student life


STEUBENVILLE — Daniel Dentino has been named as the next vice president of student life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dentino, who will begin his new job June 21, received his undergraduate degree from Franciscan. He to his alma mater from Canisius College, where he worked as vice president for student affairs and dean of students. During his tenure, he developed a new proactive retention strategy; initiated several new engagement opportunities for students, faculty, staff and coaches; partnered with academic affairs on a new first-year experience; revised crisis and emergency management protocols; and expanded intramural and club athletics offerings.

He replaces David Schmiesing in that role. Schmiesing will become the university’s first dean for personal vocation.

The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the univrsity, said Dentino’s extensive Catholic higher education experience will be invaluable to the president’s council.

“Dentino has more than two decades of experience in student life administration at several different Catholic colleges and universities and has a proven track record in fostering a campus environment in which students can flourish,” Pivonka said. “As a Franciscan alumnus himself, he has an insider view and appreciation for the commitment to academic excellence, ongoing conversion, integration of faith and reason and call to joyful discipleship that make our educational mission and student culture unique. I look forward to working with him in this role.”

Since 2001, Dentino’s professional career has focused on serving college students, and he has held leadership positions in student life at Bethany College (Kansas), University of St. Mary (Kansas), Wheeling Jesuit University and Ave Maria University (Florida), where he developed the startup’s campus faith, academic, athletic and social culture.

“My passion is helping students become the best version of themselves possible,” Dentino said. “College is not only about what you will be when you graduate but also about who you will become as a person. As most of what is best in my life has been the direct consequence of my experience as a student at Franciscan University, I am deeply grateful and excited to help today’s students receive the truly transformative education I did.”

As vice president of student life, Dentino will provide overall direction and leadership of the student life programs, which encompass residence life, evangelization and household life, athletics, wellness center, student activities and programming, dining services, international student services, orientation and campus events.

He will report to the president, serve on the university’s leadership team and participate in institutional strategic planning.

In addition to his bachelor’s in theology from Franciscan University, Dentino holds a master’s in religious studies from Providence College, and a PhD in systematic theology from Duquesne University, and has taught university-level theology and philosophy courses for more than 20 years.

Dentino wlll takes the reins from Schmiesing, who served as vice president of student life for 15 years and will become the founding dean of the office for personal vocation, reporting to the Rev. Jonathan St. Andre, TOR, vice president of Franciscan life. Schmiesing will direct the university’s efforts related to personal vocation and will supervise the career services department, missionary outreach programs, SWOP and student leadership development programs including the Center for Leadership.

Originally from Illinois, Dentino is married to Mary (Helgeson), a Franciscan University graduate of the Class of 2002. The couple has four children.


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