A funeral Mass for Vincentian Father John Richardson was celebrated April 5 in the Mother of God Chapel at the Apostle of Charity Residence in Perryville. Father Richardson, who most notably served as president of DePaul University in Chicago, died March 29 at the age of 98.
Born on Dec. 20, 1923, and ordained in August 1949, Father Richardson spent three years as a moral theology and sociology instructor at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. He then began his career at DePaul University in 1954 as dean of the university’s graduate school. He went on to serve as executive vice president from 1960-81 and dean of faculties from 1960-80. As chief academic officer during this period, he played a key role in major academic developments at the university, including reorganizing some colleges and starting others, such as the Schools of Education, New Learning, and Theatre; revamping universitywide required undergraduate curriculum; reshaping all basic faculty policies; and promoting greater unity and collaboration, among others.
Father Richardson then went on to serve as president of DePaul University from 1981-93. During his time as president, he oversaw continuing institutional planning to promote the university’s distinct mission, overall academic quality, financial growth, student enrollment, and physical plant growth, most notably the purchase and complete renovation of the Goldblatt building, renamed the DePaul Center, which became the anchor of the downtown campus.
After leaving the post of president, he continued as its chancellor from 1993 to 2018. From 1997 to 2010, he was an instructor and formator at Christ the King Seminary in Nyeri, Kenya, where he taught theology, social sciences and English composition. He also raised the funds to build one of the seminary houses in Kenya.
He was a member of three general assemblies in the Congregation of the Mission and served two terms as a member of the Midwest Provincial Council.
“I have been blessed in having truly outstanding colleagues, women and men who, probably unknown to them, have shaped most of the success my apostolates may have had,” Father Richardson stated in 2008. “Only God knows how faithful my life has been to the vision and ideals of St. Vincent. Community living traceable to His inspiration and foresight has greatly enriched my style of life and work.”
Burial was in the Vincentian Community Cemetery. A recorded livestream of the Mass is available at St. Mary’s of the Barrens’ Facebook page.