As the new interim president, we wanted our alumni to get to know Father Oliver Doyle. In doing so, we interviewed Father Oliver to provide insight on where he is from and his beliefs and vision for our university.
What brought you to Montana? More specifically, what brought you to UP?
In 1999, I was free from my responsibilities in my job in Ireland for the first time in 12 years. There was a tradition in Ireland for priests who were free in the summer to come to America to free other priests to go on vacation. At the time, I didn’t know where Montana was, but I contacted the Diocese and was placed in Chester, MT for six weeks. After the six weeks, I went back to Ireland where my term of office had ended and I was presented with a few options for my continued journey. I asked to come back to Montana and was then placed in Culbertson, MT for a year. After my year passed, the Diocese asked me to stay another year and offered me a position in Great Falls, MT.
I have always had an interest in education and my ministry in Ireland was education based. I came back to Montana in July of 2000 and in 2001 was asked by Dr. Olson if I would teach Theology during the summer at the university. In 2002-2003, I taught another course and then in 2011 I came back on campus to be an adjunct in Theology. During my time at the university, I was also helping Gene McAllister with what is now known as Providence Formation. It has been exactly 20 years ago this month that I came to Montana.
What were your thoughts when you were asked to step into the role of Interim President of the University of Providence?
My first instinct was to be humbled by it and a little scared. I knew how engaged people are and I was scared because I didn’t want to do anything to endanger the ministry. I quickly learned there is tremendous support in what we are trying to do here at UP which makes it less scary.
What brings you peace when you have to make difficult decisions, either personally or professionally?
When making decisions for the university, I will try to include insights and advice from others to help me sift through everything. I find I always include others to make the best decisions.
How would you describe the first few months as the interim president?
As the interim president, two things I have learned so far are 1) I am more aware of the university’s fault lines and wish we could respond quicker to the people who need a response. 2) The university’s greatest strengths are the staff, faculty, and students who are getting the job done in the light of the Mission.
What are your top two goals/hopes for the University as the interim president?
My goals are to create a sense of calm, steadiness and to give us the ability to make decisions in a thoughtful way. My second goal is for the university to become financially stable and grow the number of enrolled students.
Since you hail from Ireland, what do you miss most about your home country?
I miss the familiarity. Even after 20 years, such things as telephones, driving, and the things that are embedded in this culture that someone born into knows and is accustomed to, I am still unfamiliar with them. I also miss the windy, rainy days which were very much associated with comfort in Ireland.
Do you think Montanans have an accent?
There is an accent in Montana, but I don’t know if that is the same accent in other states midwestern states or not.
Where is your favorite place to think on the UP campus?
My old office and in the Chapel while playing the piano. I often times play the piano when I am trying to clear my head.
How do you feel our alumni can help contribute to the success of UP?
Alumni can help contribute to the success of UP by being engaged in what is going on and letting us know how we can better cultivate their interests. Knowing how we peak and sustain their interests will allow us to grow.
What is your favorite quote or piece of advice that has been offered to you that you would like to pass along to our alumni?
An Irish Blessing
May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart till it glows so that strangers may come and find a friend.
And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in two windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm, finding kindness and peace.
And may the blessing of the Great Rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean.
And may the blessing of the Earth be on you – the great round earth. May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it. May it be strength beneath you when you are weary from the burdens of the day.
And may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.