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Bethlehem University Commemorates 40th Anniversary with Celebration Dinner in Chicago

Brother James Gaffney, FSC

Brother James Gaffney presented with Honorary Doctorate in Humanities

Sponsored by the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ) - North Central Lieutenancy, a gathering of academic and church leaders, alumni, and friends of Bethlehem University in Chicago celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of Bethlehem University, established in October 1973 as the first university in Palestine and only Catholic university in the Holy Land.

At the celebration on Friday, November 1, Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, presented a Doctorate in Humanities, Honoris Causa, to Brother James Gaffney, FSC, in recognition and in gratitude for his inspirational leadership of Lewis University and encouragement and support of Bethlehem University. Brother Gaffney has served for the past 25 years as President of Lewis University, in Romeoville, Illinois, where he has worked to find ways to provide opportunities for graduates from Bethlehem University to study for a Master’s degree at Lewis University, a program that remains in place today.

Brother Peter Bray
Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD

Mr. Iyad Rock, 2011 graduate of Bethlehem University (Accounting) and current beneficiary of the Master’s program partnership with Lewis University, spoke at the event in Chicago about his experiences at Bethlehem University and how it prepared him for post-graduate study, and also spoke about the importance of Bethlehem University in securing a future for the young people in Palestine. 

Vice Chancellor Brother Peter Bray also echoed the importance of Bethlehem University in the region. "One of the fears I think is underlying the experience of the people in Palestine is being torn away from the fabric of human interaction, of being isolated, of being forgotten about," Brother Peter said. "At Bethlehem University we work against ignorance, we work against fear, we work against prejudice, we work against injustice. We work against anything that is going to close people off from being what they are capable of being. And as a result, we are hoping that they will live life more fully." 

Several local Church leaders were in attendance, and His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, congratulated Bethlehem University on its 40th anniversary and reflected on the importance of the University to the mission of the Church in the Holy Land. Sir Charles Foos, Lieutenant of the EOHSJ-North Central Lieutenancy, reiterated the Lieutenancy’s support of Bethlehem University and presented a $10,000 check on their behalf to support the ongoing work of the University. 

The event saw the premier of a video to commemorate the 40-year history of Bethlehem University, with a glimpse into the exciting developments of the future. 

Donations from the event will be used to support the purchase of the Mount David Property, a parcel of land in Bethlehem that will increase the current campus size of Bethlehem University by one-third. In occupied Palestine, with expanding settlements surrounding Bethlehem on all sides, such land purchasing opportunities are rare.

Click here for photos from the event.

To know more about what Brother James has been accomplishing for the past 25 years, please visit  Lewis University's Website


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine