On Oct. 26, alumni, family and friends celebrated the inspirational life of longtime campus minister Father Leo James Hoar, G'71, EdD, who passed away on April 28, 2019.  The legacy of Father Leo's many mission trips continues today in our Alternative Break Program. As such, The Father Leo Fund was established to support students who wish to participate but are unable to pay the fees associated with travel. Click here to see photos of the celebration.

About Father Leo and the Fund

Father Leo James Hoar, G’71, EdD, passed away on April 28, 2019. Longtime campus minister, “Father Leo,” as he was affectionately known, studied classics and theology at St. Anselm College and theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He earned a master’s degree in guidance and psychology services from Springfield College in 1971. He was ordained at St. Michael’s Cathedral, in Springfield, in May 1966, and went on to earn a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. He served in campus ministry at Springfield College from 1977-2007.

He held diocesan appointments to the Ministry to Priests Program and a three-year term on the Liturgical Commission. Previous to campus ministry, he served at the former Holy Family Parish in Holyoke, the former St. Matthew Parish in Indian Orchard, and the former St. Patrick Parish in Chicopee. He was a part-time faculty member at the former Notre Dame High School in Springfield from 1971-73, and served as director of Notre Dame High School and Sacred Heart Elementary from 1973-77.  He retired on June 22, 2010.

“Father Leo” was a pioneer in alternative break trips. Long before such trips were common on college campuses, Leo was helping students to expand their horizons and their commitment to service to humanity. For more than 30 years, he accompanied Springfield College students to Haiti, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, spending spring breaks and early summers performing service in local communities.

The legacy of those mission trips continues today in our Alternative Break Program.  While the destinations and work may differ, the essential spirit of Leo’s goal—to move students out of their comfort zone so they may engage authentically in service to others— remains.

As one alumnus said of the work:

“Leo strongly advised me to join his mission work in Mexico while a student at Springfield. After so many years, I can still recall in vivid memory, the details of those trips in their entirety.

While, yes there was wonderful work done to help those in need, I often felt we took as much back, in our hearts and the way in which we viewed the world around us. I owe much thanks to Leo, for taking me out of my comfort zone, and his inspiring desire to always put others before himself.”
Matthew M. Calendrillo ’04, G’05
Co-founder and Physical Therapist at LIVE EVERY DAY

These are potentially transformative experiences. The Father Leo Fund was established to support students who wish to participate but are unable to pay the fees associated with travel. All monies contributed will go to support students with confirmed financial need who wish to participate in the Alternative Break Program.

Contribute to the Father Leo Fund

To make a gift or inquiry by phone, please contact The Office of Development at (413) 748-3124.

We hope you will help us continue the legacy of Father Leo.