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Inauguration of Fr. Stephen A. Privett, S.J.

WATTS, CA September 18, 2018 -- “Courage, conviction and action for change.”

In his remarks during his inauguration as the 5th President of Verbum Dei, Fr. Stephen A. Privett called to mind the achievements of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Fr. P and Rob SmithCiting Ms. Parks’ long history of engagement, Fr. Privett encouraged Verbum Dei students to follow her example, as well as those of more recent agents of social change.

“Courage, conviction and effective action for change are not spontaneous, spur-of-the moment reflexes,” he said. “But habits of the heart and mind carefully cultivated over time. These personal qualities constitute what we call ‘character’ and are the product of effort, discipline and focus.”

Fr. Privett went on to encourage students to recognize that Verbum Dei holds the key to their futures. “Accept the responsibility now for building yourselves well and wisely,” he told them. “Your years at the Verb are not repeatable. Take advantage of every person and every opportunity here to make yourselves the persons you want to be.”

Among the civic leaders attending Fr. Privett’s inauguration were Ana Guerrero, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Chief of Staff and long-time friend Robert Smith, President of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation, who praised the new President as extremely talented, concise, positive and enduring. “I can’t think of a better fit for Verbum Dei,” Smith said.

Before accepting his current position at Verbum Dei, Fr. Privett served as President and later Chancellor of the University of San Francisco, Principal of Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Santa Clara University.

A graduate of Gonzaga University, Fr. Privett earned a master’s degree in divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology and a PhD in catechetics at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.