July 01, 2020
Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. ’78, ’82G: A vision for progress
Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. ’78 , ’82G is the 13th president of Providence College.
As an undergraduate, he majored in accountancy, then earned an MBA at PC. He worked as an auditor at Fleet Financial Group for six years before entering the Dominican Order of Preachers. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1990.
Father Sicard holds a Ph.D. in business education from The Ohio State University. After serving for seven years as chaplain and as a member of the faculty at Ohio Dominican College, he was assigned to Providence College in 1997 and became director of residence life.
In 2005, the new president, Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80, tapped him to be his executive vice president/treasurer.
The road ahead
“Every Dominican who has been president at Providence College has tried to leave the institution better than he found it, and that will be my goal. By that measure, Father Shanley has been one of the College’s most successful presidents, and — guided by our Catholic and Dominican mission, and through the support of faculty and staff — I hope to build upon and continue the progress he has led. I am excited about developing meaningful relationships with our students and making their years at PC meaningful and transformative.”
“We want PC to be more nationally recognized as a leading Catholic liberal arts college that attracts students from all geographic regions of the country. Our new strategic plan, PC200, addresses that aspiration and defines our overall goals. The plan was three years in the making, and I was heavily involved in its creation. Of all the initiatives it includes, I am most excited about those related to academics, the College’s Catholic and Dominican identity, and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“The boldest academic initiative in PC200 is “signature work” — which will create a framework for students to purposefully combine classroom work with internships, study abroad, research, and other co-curricular activities — all contributing to a signature student experience. We are still working with faculty on the finishing touches; we’re not there yet, but there are great ideas and great energy around this idea. It’s one of the most exciting things we’re doing at PC. I am passionate about the plan, which is both aspirational and practical. We have an extraordinary and committed faculty, who will continue to work with us on making PC what we envision it to be and to build on all the successes of Father Shanley’s tenure. I would also like to say how grateful we all are to Dr. Hugh Lena, whose contributions as provost have been instrumental in the College’s success.”
“We don’t want the College to get any bigger, nor do we want it to be any smaller, and that is where the challenge lies. The demographics are changing in the areas from which we typically draw students, particularly the Northeast. We need to continue to expand our outreach to other geographic regions to find students who would really thrive at a mission-based institution like PC.”
Ready for the job
“Father Shanley and I have worked together closely for 15 years. He has been a great mentor and consistently has given me meaningful responsibilities. When he was on sabbatical in 2018, I was adequately prepared to assume the leadership role in his absence. Serving as the College’s president will, of course, be a challenge. It is obviously different when you are not just doing the job for six months. But the way Father Shanley and I have worked together has prepared me very well to assume these new responsibilities.”
“As the first person in my extended family to attend college, I am forever grateful for the opportunities provided by Providence College that changed my life, and I always try to keep that perspective in mind. That is one of the reasons that I am focused on promoting diversity by serving first-generation, and other under-represented, students.”
Father Shanley’s impact
“Father Shanley deserves enormous credit for the great strides the College has made. Fifteen years ago, PC was a great school, but is even more so now. Our physical campus has been transformed. But more importantly, our academic reputation has been greatly enhanced through the efforts of our faculty, most of whom have been hired during Father Shanley’s tenure. I want to continue to build on that progress and to add my own imprint to Providence College. I am excited about the opportunity and about the future that lies ahead.”