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Seton Hall's President Rectors

Rev. Fr. Bernard J. McQuaid, Director (1860-1862)

I have bought a property where I hope to open a college, in which young men of the diocese who give signs of a vocation to the priesthood will be trained. -Bishop J.R. Bayley

Father Bernard J. McQuaid received priestly ordination in 1848 following his studies at Saint John's Seminary, Fordham.  He was assigned to pastoral work in Madison, New Jersey, which at the time was within boundaries of the diocese of New York.  He then served as the first rector of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Newark when the diocese of Newark was erected in 1853.  Instrumental in making Bishop Bayley's vision of a diocesan college and seminary a reality, McQuaid was appointed the first president of Seton Hall College in 1856 and first director of Immaculate Conception Seminary in 1860.  In 1868, McQuaid was named bishop of the newly-established diocese of Rochester and was consecrated a bishop in July 1868.  Bishop McQuaid died in January 1909.

Rev. Fr. Joseph Synnott, Rector (1895-1899)

Possessing "a rarely gifted mind, extraordinary industry, a charming grace of manner, extreme modesty, and a character firm as it was gentle…(Synnott) was eminently fitted for his position, and it is certain if God has spared his life…higher honors and even greater responsibilities awaited him…" - J.M. Flynn

Father Joseph Synnott engaged in theological studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, received priestly ordination in 1886 and was awarded a doctorate in divinity in 1888.  In 1889, while serving as curate of Saint John's Church in Paterson, Synnott was appointed to the seminary faculty to teach scripture and Hebrew, though he also lectured in moral theology and canon law.  Assuming the leadership of the seminary in 1895, Synnott was the first to be titled "rector."  In 1897, he was named president of Seton Hall while continuing in the office of rector.  He died at the young age of thirty-six in March 1899.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. John A. Stafford, Rector (1899-1907)

No professor has the right to a monopoly of a seminarian's time.  Dogma, moral, scripture and history are all equally necessary to a well rounded seminary education. - Msgr. J.A. Stafford

Monsignor John A. Stafford began his seminary training in 1882 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, earned a licentiate in sacred theology, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1888.  Engaged in parochial ministry following ordination, Stafford was appointment vice-president in 1893.  In 1897, he was named pastor of Saint Augustine Church, Union Hill. Two years later, in 1899, he soon returned to Seton Hall when he was named college president and seminary rector. In addition to his administrative duties, he lectured in pastoral theology and liturgy.  Requesting a return to parish ministry, Monsignor Stafford was appointed to the pastorate of Saint Paul of the Cross Church, Jersey City, in 1907 and later served as pastor of Saint Patrick's Church in Jersey City until his death in January 1913.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. James F. Mooney, Rector (1907-1922)         

The rector had an air of self-assurance, but was admired for his full participation in the seminarians' daily routine.  Each morning he joined the community in morning meditation, sometimes calling upon a student to present the 'points' which had been read… - Msgr. H.G.J. Beck

Monsignor James F. Mooney, a graduate of Seton Hall College (1884), received his priestly training at the College of Brignole-Sale in Genoa, Italy, from which institution he received the degree of doctor of divinity. Ordained to the priesthood in 1889, Mooney engaged in parish ministry prior to being appointed professor of English and Latin at Seton Hall with additional teaching responsibilities at the seminary in the sacred sciences.  While teaching and serving as vice rector, Mooney was appointed president of the college and seminary rector in 1907.  Eager to remain in the classroom, Mooney continued teaching moral theology and canon law throughout his tenure as president and rector.  After resigning from his administrative posts in 1922, Monsignor Mooney remained teaching at the seminary until he returned to parish ministry in 1923. He died in February 1928.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas H. McLaughlin, Rector (1922-1938)

April 17 (1927): Took all seminarian registers and documents pertaining to the seminary and new seal to Darlington, those closing seminary at South Orange after 66 years in that spot.  May God bless the seminarians and successors in new home. - Msgr. T.H. McLaughlin

Monsignor Thomas H. McLaughlin, a graduate of Saint Francis Xavier College (1901) in Manhattan, pursued theological studies at the University of Innsbruck.  Ordained in 1904, McLaughlin remained at Innsbruck and earned a doctorate in sacred theology in 1908.  Following a brief period of service at Saint Michael's Church in Jersey City, he was appointed to Seton Hall as vice president and professor of classical languages and philosophy at the college and taught canon law, scripture, and dogmatic theology in the seminary.  In 1922, McLaughlin was named college president and seminary rector.  During his tenure, the seminary was relocated from the South Orange campus to the newly acquired Darlington estate in Mahwah.  Resigning as college president in 1933, McLaughlin was appointed auxiliary bishop of Newark in 1935 and continued as seminary rector until his appointment as the first bishop of the newly-erected diocese of Paterson.  He died in March 1947.