Honoring the Service of Don Crean

Don Crean, one of the longest serving members of University Ministry (UM) who worked with USF for over 22 years, retired from his position this past February. Crean said he will continue to volunteer with the Saint Ignatius parish as he pursues personal and professional goals, such as applying what he has learned here to the greater SF area.


Some of his duties on campus included working with Resident Ministers, working on student liturgies, immersion trips and programs of the Jesuit mission and identity, such as the UM Retreats and volunteer groups. Crean was also in charge of working with many departments within the school to prepare for events such as the welcome ceremony and graduation.


Those who worked with Crean describe him as humble, caring, generous, empathetic and fun. When asked to speak to the Foghorn for an article honoring his time here, Crean said he felt a little “awkward.” “There’s been so many people that have done so much more than me at USF. I haven’t done any more than hundreds of other people, thousands of other people,” he said, shrugging. Crean kept reiterating how much those around him made what he did possible. “RMs [Resident Ministers] do so much unseen work,” he said, “but that’s what everybody at USF does, CASA, CAPS, professors, the students!”


“I saw humanism in Don before I even came to the USA,” said Jean Pierre Ndagijimana, a Resident Minister in Hayes-Healy Hall, who is from Rwanda. Crean interviewed Ndagijimana for his RM position over Skype. “Knowing that English was my fourth language, I was nervous about my capacity to handle discussions with him. I wondered how our accents would match,” Ndagijimana said. “He was peaceful. He offered me a comfortable space that allowed me to express my full potential and today I am here! I had the honor to serve in the University Ministry for almost two years under Don.”


Crean grew up in the Bronx, New York. He grew up very involved in his parish and went to a Jesuit high school, Fordham Preparatory High School, which is where he first encountered Jesuits. From there, he went to the Boston College, a Jesuit university, where he was an English major and church history minor. At school, he was involved with the campus ministry. “I knew I wasn’t called into priesthood, but I was called to work in the ministry,” he said.  


He went on to get his Master of Arts in Divinity Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Berkeley, which is now Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology, still located in Berkeley, Calif. This is where his path lead him to USF. While in his master’s program, he interned at the USF University Ministry and helped coordinate the liturgy for the school. Within the next year, 1997, he was working part-time at USF. In 1998, he became a full-time member of the University Ministry. Don said one word that he would want to leave students with is “trust.” To trust in themselves and “trust in the loving work of God, who has created each of us, and who loves us dearly, who walks with us on our journey,” he said. Crean also said he wants to “let the students know that they are at the finest university in the country, and that it’s the finest university in the country because of them.”


Featured Photo: Don Crean was part of University Ministry for 22 years and retired in February. PHOTO COURTESY OF DON CREAN

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