Fr. Mike Hutchins’ Last Semester

The longest serving president in DWC history will leave office May 31

Fr. Michael Hutchins, SVD
After 18 years as president of Divine Word College, Fr. Mike Hutchins, SVD, is moving on to a new challenge within the Society of the Divine Word.  Fr. Tim Lenchak, SVD, a classmate of Fr. Hutchins and fellow graduate of DWC will become the college’s next president on June 1.

“Two years ago I asked the College Board of Trustees and our SVD religious superiors to identify a new president,” Fr. Mike said. “Last October, they answered my request with the appointment of Fr. Lenchak.”

Most recently, Fr. Lenchak served as the religious superior of the SVD community in Rome, which included administrative staff of the SVD Generalate and students from around the world. Coupled with his work in Africa earlier in his career, his experience makes him well suited for a college with an enrollment that includes students from 18 different countries around the globe.

“Fr. Lenchak instinctively understands all the international, multicultural requirements. He’s been immersed in that for the last 20 years,” Fr. Hutchins said. “He will provide enthusiastic and competent leadership for Divine Word College.”

A decision on Fr. Hutchins next assignment is being finalized by his superiors at the Chicago Province Office at Techny, Illinois. Fr. Mark Weber, SVD, is the current provincial and Chair of the Divine Word College Board of Trustees.

“Fr. Mike has done an incredible job of strengthening the college over the years he has been President.  He has brought up the standards of the college,” Fr. Weber said. “He has made the Board of Trustees a far stronger body, bringing in capable and dedicated members with various areas of expertise, who really serve the college through their work.”

During his tenure as president, Fr. Hutchins has instituted public outreach activities that both raise awareness of the college and connect area residents with DWC students.  Today the college is on stronger financial footing and is enjoying a larger and more diversified student body, which includes religious sisters, seminarians from other orders and laypersons.  The end result has been an enriched educational experience for all, especially the young men discerning their call to missionary life in the Society of the Divine Word.

Based in Epworth, Iowa, Divine Word College is a Roman Catholic seminary in the tradition of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), which educates men and women for missionary service as priests, brothers, sisters and laypersons. For this purpose, it offers an education that combines spiritual formation, a liberal arts curriculum, language learning and mission preparation within an environment that teaches and honors the rich cultural diversity of the world.