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Keenan rector takes new position

Becky Hogan | Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Father Mark Thesing will step down as rector of Keenan Hall and will take a new position as Business Manager in the University’s Office of Student Affairs.

Thesing said his new position as Business Manager is a full-time position, which necessitated that he step down as rector of Keenan Hall.

Thesing served as rector of Keenan since 2002 and said he enjoyed working with the men of Keenan Hall.

“I’ve had a wonderful time working with men of Keenan and being involved with all the things Keenan does from Frosh-O to… the Keenan Revue,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of it and happy to have worked with so many Keenan guys who have spent their years here.”

Thesing said his years in Keenan were always filled with energy.

“Keenan is one of the best halls on campus, and I enjoyed all of the energy that the Hall staff had along with the Hall government in organizing and putting together activities and events to make Keenan a lively place to live where something is always happening,” Thesing said.

Thesing also said part of being rector of Keenan meant that he had to help students as they faced the challenges of college life.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be here as they continue to go through the challenges of being college student,” Thesing said.

He also said there were some aspects of the position that were challenging to handle, especially when it came to disciplinary issues.

“There are lots of challenges to being a rector… I did not like having to deal with students who are unwilling to address issues in their lives… or who are unwilling to make changes that would be appropriate,” Thesing said.

Senior J.J. Cappa said Thesing has been a mentor to him during his years in Keenan.

“Father Mark has been a mentor to me. There’s really nobody who can help you develop your strengths the way he can,” Cappa said.

Cappa also said Thesing was an invaluable asset to Keenan Hall’s most celebrated dorm event – the Keenan Revue, an annual comedy show which pokes fun at campus life and pop culture.

“I was the Keenan Revue producer [in 2007] and that’s something you can’t do without Father Mark,” Cappa said. “That was when I realized he is the unsung hero of the dorm – without him the great things that people do in the dorm wouldn’t be possible.”

As a resident assistant of Keenan Hall, Cappa said he got to know Thesing on a more personal level.

“This year as an RA working for [Father Mark], I realized how much he cares about everybody and that influences how you want to do your job. He is so careful and caring, and there for those who need a mentor,” he said.

According to Cappa, Thesing is highly respected in Keenan Hall.

“Keenan wouldn’t be same place without Father Mark … He’s really respected for being a great rector,” he said. “It’s hard to pinpoint the one thing that is the best about him because he did so much.”

Cappa also said that all of Keenan’s current residents have only had Thesing as their rector, so filling his shoes will be a struggle for whoever replaces him.

“Everybody who is living in Keenan right now has only had Father Mark as their rector and I know that Keenan has been great for my four years. Everyone realizes how much of an influence he has and we’re worried that someone else won’t fill his shoes,” Cappa said.

Sophomore Danny Wheeland said Thesing brought a welcoming spirit to Keenan.

“He has always been very welcoming and always made you feel like if you ever had any problem, you could go to him and talk to him about it,” Wheeland said. “He always tried to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.”

Wheeland also said Thesing played a major role in building community within the dorm.

“I remember the beginning of this year a freshman’s father passed away and he made sure everyone knew about it. He set up a memorial service so the entire dorm could come together to show support for the freshman – that was a really cool thing he did,” Wheeland said.

Additionally, Wheeland said the change in rectors will likely bring changes to dorm life.

“I feel like next year will be a learning process for everyone. The [Keenan] Revue might be different, and it will be interesting to see if traditions that he has come up with himself will last,” Wheeland said.

One tradition that Thesing kept alive during his time as rector of Keenan, Wheeland said, was that he made sure that he and the RAs took over pizza sales so that other Keenanties could study during finals.

Senior Matt Casanova said Thesing helped to get many dorm projects underway.

“I was always involved in projects in Keenan – and he made it really easy to get things done and push [projects] along,” Casanova said.

He said this was particularly evident to him during his position as captain of Keenan’s soccer team.

“I was captain of the soccer team, and he told me not to worry about money for uniforms, to just get people signed up – he was a really big help for that kind of stuff,” Casanova said.

Casanova agreed with fellow residents that one of the most remarkable things about Thesing was his influence on the Keenan Revue.

“He pushed it farther than it ever had been, especially in what we were allowed to do. Most people in Keenan end up getting involved in the Revue, and it’s a big thing that everyone can rally around. He continued to make it better,” Casanova said. “He gave us whatever we needed to make the show as great a possible.”

Casanova said Thesing often went above and beyond the call of duty as rector.

“There’s a lot Father Mark did I have never heard of rectors doing,” Casanova said.

Casanova gave an example of Father Mark getting the hall ready to move into each year by making sure that any members of Keenan who had ordered carpets ahead of time had them laid down in their room before they arrived.

“I think everybody is going to miss him next year,” Casanova said.

Officer Assistant of the Office of Student affairs Carole Coffin said the OSA is still finishing up hiring new rectors for the 2008-2009 academic year, and some rector positions remain uncertain at this time.

Thesing said he did not know who would take over as rector of Keenan Hall.