Dr. Robert Wickenheiser 

19th President


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    Dr. Robert Wickenheiser was the first layman to be appointed to the office of President of Saint Bonaventure University. For the first time a Franciscan Friar was not the president. Wickenheiser was born in Bismarck, ND and raised in Stratsburg, ND. He was educated by the Benedictines and  for four years was a Benedictine monk.   He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Benedict's College in Richardton, N.D., and master's and doctoral degrees in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, . He published numerous articles and reviews in journals including  PMLA  Abstracts, George Herbert Journal, Milton Quarterly and the Princeton Library Chronicle.  He was editor of the  Princeton Library Chronicle, Vol. 38,  and contributing editor to the Yale Edition of Milton's Prose Works, Vol. VII.  Dr. Wickenheiser's acceptance of the election of president of St. Bonaventure was viewed by all as a positive thing.

    Although Dr. Wickenheiser left the presidency of St. Bonaventure in the midst of a scandal, his ten years can also be remembered for several important advancements. He was a driving force leading the University into the 21st century. Dr. Wickenheiser supported the development of  Clare College, the new core curriculum introduced in 1998.  Experts have called the curriculum "ground  breaking" and referred to it as "a national model".  Dr. Wickenheiser also played a key role in the revitalizing and expanding of the University Ministries.  He helped to establish the Franciscan Center for Social Concern and the Quick Arts Center.  He worked successfully to solve the grave financial problems faced by SBU when he took office.   

In 2003 Dr. Wickenheiser was forced to resign amidst controversy.  A transfer student was admitted, and allowed to play basketball, without the required associate's degree according to NCAA rules.  This made him ineligible to play at St. Bonaventure. After sanctions were imposed by the Atlantic 10 Conference, Dr. Wickenheiser resigned, taking full responsibility for the affair. 

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Biographical Information:

BORN:  December 13, 1942

BIRTHPLACE: Bismarck, North Dakota

COLLEGE:  B.A. , Benedictine College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Minnesota 

SPOUSE:  Patricia

CHILDREN: Kari, Kort, Kristin, Kyle, Kathryn


"St. Bonaventure University President resigns" Olean Time Herald   6 February  2003.

"Wickenheiser named University's 19th president" Inside Bona's 3 January 1994.

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This page was created by Kevin Lawless as part of an internship during the Fall 2004 semester.  Any changes, other than minor editing, are noted at the bottom of the page.

For information about the Archives' collections contact:

Dennis Frank 
telephone: 716.375.2322

Created 08/30/04 by Kevin Lawless
Last updated:  03/02/06