Hall named for Cronogue

Edmundite gift aims to name hall for Fr. Mike Cronogue S.S.E.

November 15, 2019
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Fr. Mike Cronogue SSE

The photo directly above shows Fr. Mike not long before his death blessing the Campus Farm field at its dedication.

Putting their money where their faith is, the Society of Saint Edmund in late July announced a $500,000 gift to Saint Michael’s College, challenging alumni and friends of the College to match those funds for a total gift of $1 million to secure the dedication of an existing-yet-unnamed campus residence hall in honor of the beloved late campus minister, Father Michael P. Cronogue, S.S.E., who died in October 2016.

The gift will be used as the cornerstone of Saint Michael’s Day of Giving (ThanksGIVING) to be held on November 19.  ThanksGIVING is a time where the Saint Michael’s community comes together to support the College and to thank those who made their College experience so meaningful.

The Society of St. Edmund, or “Edmundites,” are the founding order in residence of Saint Michael’s. The building in question is the apartment-style hall that for the moment goes simply by “Residence Hall 4,” farthest northeast among the most recent halls Canterbury, Pontigny and Cashman. In announcing the gift to the campus community, Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt stated that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming.

“I wholeheartedly thank our dear Edmundite friends for this magnificent gift to the College in memory of such a beloved member of our community,” the president stated, adding that while she had not the privilege of knowing Father Michael, “I have been deeply moved by … the many people who have mentioned him to me in the most loving terms and with heartfelt appreciation for the numerous and selfless ways in which he touched the Saint Michael’s community.”

Cronogue was a dynamic and popular priest whose death in 2016 at age 68 from an apparent heart attack while working in his campus office was jarring and unexpected. Known to the community as Father Mike, he was the founder of MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts), the longtime campus organization for local, domestic and international service work.  By graduation, over 70 percent of Saint Michael’s students participate in MOVE.  During his decades in campus ministry, he worked diligently and generously for peace and social justice, teaching Saint Michael’s courses in those fields while touching countless lives with his many small kindnesses, as recounted by many at his 2016 funeral that drew 1,000-plus mourners to the packed chapel. His warmth and humor were well-known and valued widely in the community even beyond campus.

The Very Rev David Cray, S.S.E. ’67, the Society’s superior general, explained factors that motivated the gift: “At this particular juncture where the Society of Saint Edmund is low in numbers and higher than ever in average and median age, we have as a priority to remain committed to the works that we have established both for their good and to preserve them for our own future involvement; and to preserve and promote our own rich legacy, “Cray said. “In view of both those ends, it makes perfect sense for us to have made this leadership gift in support of Saint Michael’s Day of Giving.”

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