Fr. E. Peter W. Nash, S.J.,
President, Campion College, University of Regina (1965-1978)
Father E. Peter W. Nash, SJ, was the first president of Campion College at the University of Regina.
Born in India, Fr. Peter Nash was raised and schooled at Stonyhurt College in England from ages three to 11. He emigrated to Canada in 1925 with his mother and four brothers, celebrating his 12th birthday in mid-Atlantic.
Fr. Nash joined the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in 1931 and was ordained in 1944. His teaching career began at Regis College, Toronto (nine years), continued at Mt. St. Michael's at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington (three years), and reached its most distinguished phase at Campion College in Regina (1961-1978). He was Professor of Philosophy and Rector, and after successfully negotiating the federation of the College with the University of Saskatchewan—Regina Campus in 1965, became its first President. It was accomplishing that federation which earned him the recommendation for the Order of Canada in 1983. He set firmly in place a relationship between the College and the University that has been beneficial for both institutions and for the Roman Catholic community in Regina in particular, and for the educational community of Saskatchewan in general. In the words of a fellow-Jesuit, Jacques Monet (President, University of Sudbury), Father Nash had a "commanding and critical role in Catholic university education. At a time of serious challenge and difficulty he took the kind of creative—not to say radical—decisions that determined the Church's intellectual ministry."
It was the idea of a true liberal education that directed his vision, and he stressed the importance of the Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences and Fine Arts in that education as he developed his Faculty complement at the College. In his tenure as President he set the tone for the College: a humanistic scholarship which nurtures both the mind and the spirit.
Father Nash left Campion in 1978, and the following year the new President, Joseph B. Gavin, S.J., established the Nash Lecture Series, which annually features renowned scholars in the disciplines which Father Nash nurtured at the College. And Father Nash set off for a new adventure himself, as Director of the Canadian Jesuit Missions, serving as liaison with the Jesuit missionaries in Zambia and India. On his retirement from that assignment in 1987, he became involved in the Christian Life Community movement in Toronto.
In 1994, he went into the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering, where he was cared for in his final journey. But like all great men, Father Nash's journey continues on in the students and colleagues for whom he set the example of scholastic integrity, compassion, and humanity.