Father Mark Lewis, S.J. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Jun 14, 2022 / 10:45 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has appointed Father Mark Lewis, a Florida-born Jesuit priest, to lead Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University as rector, it was announced on Tuesday.

Lewis, 62, has served as academic vice rector of the Gregorian, a Jesuit-run ecclesiastical university, since 2019. His term as rector will begin on Sept. 1.

He joined the university’s faculty as a Church History and Cultural Heritage professor in 2017, after six years as provincial superior of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus. He also taught at Spring Hill College in Alabama.

Lewis’ appointment follows that of another American, Father Thomas Joseph White, to lead the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in 2021.

Lewis lived in Rome from 1996 to 2004, working at the Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus, which he directed for six years.

He has a doctoral degree in history from the University of Toronto. He was born in Miami and joined the Jesuits in 1980. He was ordained a priest in 1991.

Outgoing Gregorian rector Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves said on June 14 that the rector-designate “has acquired a wealth of academic and governance experience, which he has generously placed at the service of the Pontifical Gregorian University in recent years.”

“He has committed himself to the pedagogical formation of the teaching staff and the promotion of quality, which has now become a permanent dimension of university life,” he added.