Loyola celebrates the life of Rev. Ronald J. Amiot, S.J., Trustee and former Rector
| By Rita Buettner
The Rev. Ronald J. Amiot, S.J., a member of Loyola’s Board of Trustees and former Rector of Loyola’s Jesuit Community, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at the St. Ignatius Loyola Community in Manhattan. Fr. Amiot, who had also worked in student development for Loyola from 2007-2016, was 73.
“Fr. Amiot has been a valued member of the Board of Trustees for four years, and he and I had just spoken about his continuing his service for another term. He was so looking forward to continuing to serve,” said Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D., president of Loyola. “We have been blessed by Fr. Amiot's leadership, his love for Loyola and our Jesuit mission, and his active participation in and commitment to our University.”
Elected to the Board of Trustees in October 2018, Fr. Amiot served on the Board’s Advancement and Enrollment Management Committee and, more recently, on the Student Development Committee.
“In his time on the Board of Trustees, Fr. Amiot brought not just a passion for Jesuit, liberal arts education, but also an invaluable commitment to our students and their experience,” said Gerry Holthaus, '71, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We will miss his leadership, his insight, and his enthusiasm for the work--as well as his warmth and sense of humor.”
When Fr. Amiot started as special assistant to the vice president for student development in 2007, Susan Donovan, Ph.D., was serving as vice president for student development. Later Loyola’s executive vice president and now president of Bellarmine University, Donovan recalls that Fr. Amiot came to Loyola from his role as president of Cheverus High School, a Jesuit school in Portland, Maine.
“Fr. Amiot was a wonderful person and a caring and thoughtful Jesuit. His academic discipline was psychology, and he understood people. He contributed greatly to the division and the campus community. There were many assignments that others would have shied away from (including the College Board on Discipline) but Fr. Amiot always stepped in and stepped up,” she said.
Donovan and her husband, Bill Donovan, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, recall Fr. Amiot’s ability to bring the meaning of the Gospel to his listeners’ everyday lives in his homilies in Alumni Memorial Chapel.
“I appreciated his forthright ability to raise concerns, but he was also open to differing opinions and would reconsider his position when others brought thoughtful counter arguments to his position,” she said. “He embodied his Jesuit training in discernment and contemplation. We will miss his wit and his compassion for others. His laugh was contagious, and his endearing personality was unique.”
Fr. Amiot had earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University, master’s degrees in theology/divinity from Boston College’s Weston School of Theology and historical/pastoral theology from St. Louis University’s School of Divinity, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education/School Counseling and Human Development from the University of Iowa.
Jen Lowry, Ph.D., chair of the faculty and associate professor of psychology, recalls working with him on the internationalization and Ignatian citizenship components of the last strategic plan, The Ignatian Compass: Guiding Loyola University Maryland to Ever Greater Excellence.
“He was such a wonderful, kind, thoughtful, person with a wry sense of humor and an infectious laugh. A brilliant mind, twinkling eyes, a mischievous smile, and a genuine, empathetic human being who had a gift for being direct in thought, and kind in delivery,” Lowry recalled. “We had fun conversations about psychology and human nature through psychological and philosophical lenses, particularly Freud and Existentialism. He was wise counsel and a good friend, and I will miss him greatly.”
Christina Spearman, Ed.D., assistant vice president for career development, remembers working with Fr. Amiot when she was director of student life. He supported the work of student development by participating in the student conduct process and serving on the University Board on Discipline.
“Fr. Amiot always brought a beautiful sense of accountability and education. He was deeply invested in folks that would go through the process, getting to know them as individuals and working with members of the University Board on Discipline, trying to help them develop appropriate opportunities to learn from poor choices they had made and to learn more about themselves and their values,” Spearman said. “He was joyful. He found the joy in the work even when it was hard.”
When Fr. Amiot returned to Loyola as a member of the Board of Trustees four years ago, Spearman enjoyed reconnecting with him and watching him apply his understanding of student development to the work of the Board.
“He was so invested and engaged in whatever we brought to the trustees that needed their input or their advice—particularly when we were talking about the changing nature of our students. Whether that was related to COVID or mental health or really any topic, he was very open to and supportive of the people working in student development,” she said. “He was just a supportive figure, and he had a great connection to the work.”
Fr. Amiot was born on June 14, 1949, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, entered the Novitiate at Shadowbrook in Lenox, Massachusetts, on Aug. 14, 1967, and was ordained on June 4, 1978, at College of the Holy Cross. He pronounced his final vows at College of the Holy Cross on June 14, 1990.
The Loyola University Maryland community prayed for Fr. Amiot in the intentions at 5 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Sept. 4, in Alumni Memorial Chapel. The Loyola Jesuit Community offered the Monday, Sept. 5, Mass for the repose of his soul.
Sunday, Sept. 11, 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel
1076 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, Sept. 12 at 10:30 a.m.
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
980 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10028
The Liturgy will be livestreamed on this YouTube site.
Burial will be at the Cemetery at Campion Center, Weston, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, Sept. 13.