Northwest Catholic has named Fr. Michael Dolan as president of the West Hartford school.
Submitted by Maureen Scudder, Northwest Catholic High School
Fr. Michael J. Dolan, a native of Waterbury and current resident of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford, has been appointed president of Northwest Catholic High School, marking a significant and celebrated change from his original appointment on Nov. 1, 2020 as interim president.
In January 2020, after Christian J. Cashman announced his resignation as president of Northwest Catholic, the Archdiocese of Hartford began a comprehensive, national, year-long search for his successor. During this time, two interim presidents, Mrs. Maria Maynard, a 40-year veteran in school leadership for the Archdiocese, and Fr. Michael J. Dolan, educator and pastor, most recently at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Hamden, served in the role while the Archdiocese vetted candidates.
On Jan. 7, 2021, the Most Rev. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair signed into action the permanent agreement that Fr. Dolan would lead Northwest Catholic into its 60th year and beyond.
Fr. Dolan has enjoyed a long and successful career in ministry and education. A graduate of Francis T. Maloney High School in Meriden and Assumption College, now University, in Worcester, MA, Michael Dolan began his career as a lab technician before becoming a teacher at St. John the Evangelist in Watertown, then St. Augustine School in Hartford.
In 1991, Fr. Dolan entered St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, graduating in 1995 with a Master of Divinity. While serving in area parishes, Fr. Dolan continued his studies at the Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, Hartford Seminary, and New York University. His pastoral duties brought him to St. Vincent de Paul Church in East Haven where he completed his diaconal internship under the supervision of Msgr. Gary Simeone. He served at St. George Church in Guilford where, as parochial vicar, he directed young adult ministry in the shoreline parish.
In 1997, Fr. Dolan became the parochial vicar and priest director of the parish school at St. Mary Church in Newington. Over the years Fr. Dolan also served as Director of Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese, overseeing chaplains at Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut’s Waterbury campus, Post University, University of New Haven, Naugatuck and Capital Community Colleges, Albertus Magnus College, and Yale University.
Fr. Dolan spent 10 years as chaplain at the University of Hartford where he initiated interfaith dialogue with students and staff. He concurrently served as chaplain at Trinity College where he conducted marriage preparation for the many weddings that occurred in the campus chapel in addition to his graduate study in the history program.
Additional assignments that have prepared Fr. Dolan for his newest position as high school president include being the vocation director and vicar for seminarians; administrator at Sacred Heart Church in Suffield and St. Augustine Church in Hartford; pastor at St. Junipero Serra Parish in South Windsor and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hamden; chaplain at East Catholic High School, Connecticut State Police, and The Hundred Club of Connecticut; and a board member at East Catholic High School, Notre Dame High School, and The Connecticut Coalition for Interfaith Understanding.
In his current role as the Interreligious Affairs Director for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Fr. Dolan has made extensive contacts among the nine major world religions.
As Fr. Dolan embarks on his newest assignment, he is charged with the task of strengthening the school’s Catholic identity and ensuring a strong footing for the coming years. He sees a bright future for Northwest Catholic, updating the facilities, recruiting new faculty, providing support for teaching, and responding to evolving educational demands, particularly in STEM.
Northwest Catholic will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021 under Fr. Dolan’s leadership. In 1961, the Most Rev. John F. Hackett, D.D., officiated at the formal dedication of Northwest Catholic with eight members of the order of Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs among the first faculty, and the school’s first class graduated in June 1965. Today, 60 years later, Northwest Catholic High School is delighted to welcome Fr. Michael J. Dolan as its 10th president.
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