Recently resigned St. John's president dies

Brother Dietrich
Brother Dietrich Reinhart, who resigned as president of St. John's University in Collegeville in October, has died of cancer.
Photo courtesy of St. John's University

(AP) - Dietrich Reinhart, the former president of St. John's University who stepped down for health reasons last fall, has died. He was 59.

A school spokesman said Reinhart died early Monday in St. Raphael Hall, the retirement center at St. John's Abbey.

According to an obituary provided by the school, Reinhart was born Thomas Edward Reinhart in Minneapolis in 1949, and lived there until he entered St. John's University in 1967 as an undergraduate. He graduated in 1971 with a degree in history, after which he entered St. John's Abbey to become a monk.

Reinhart asked for the name Dietrich in honor of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran theologian who was part of a resistance movement against the Nazis.

Reinhart went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees in history from Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Reinhart returned to St. John's in 1981 to teach history, and attained several administrative posts before being named president in 1991.

He presided over a number of major campus building projects, and saw enrollment grow by 9 percent even as the school toughened standards for entering freshman.

Reinhart was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer in September, and stepped down shortly after that.

Dan Whalen, a 1970 graduate of the school and a regent since 1997, is serving as interim president while the Board of Regents searches for a permanent successor.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Reinhart will be held at the St. John's Abbey Church on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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