As one who has greatly enjoyed the work of Liguori Publications in recent years, my heart skipped a beat when I received the following press release regardling an upcoming change in leadership. I’ve enjoyed a terrific working relationship with current Liguori President and Publisher Rev. Matthew Kessler. Fr. Mat offered me a few wonderful opportunities to be a part of Liguori products, and I will treasure a great visit I made last year to their Missouri headquarters. I wish Fr. Mat all the best and look forward to working with the new leadership team.
Liguori Publications Announces New Publisher and New President
Liguori, Mo., May 14, 2013 – The board of directors of Liguori Publications has unanimously selected a multi-media journalist as publisher (CEO) and a businessman and priest as president.
The new publisher is Virgil Tipton of Richmond Heights, Mo., and the new president is the Rev. Donald Willard, C.Ss.R., now serving in a parish in California. The two succeed the Rev. Mathew Kessler, C.Ss.R., who has served as both president and publisher for six years. The change is effective July 1, 2013.
“Fr. Mat has served with great distinction and has positioned Liguori Publications well to adapt to the future of publishing,” said the Rev. Matt Allman, C.Ss.R., chairman of the board of directors. “We have confidence that Virgil and Fr. Don will expand on that legacy.”
Tipton, a native of Springfield, Ill., began his career as a reporter and editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was the founding editor of the newspaper’s Web site, and led the effort to encourage reporters and editors to participate in the site. He went on to become deputy editor of the newspaper, overseeing digital publishing, the news research library and computer-assisted reporting. He also worked for NewsEngin Inc., a company that builds software for news organizations.
“Liguori Publications’ past is rich and its future shines with promise, with a creative staff dedicated to the mission of spreading the Good News in print and digital forms,” Tipton said. “Fr. Mat has demonstrated remarkable leadership, especially in operating Liguori Publications as a business while pursuing the mission. I’m thrilled the board has chosen me to build on his work, and I look forward to making great things happen with the board, Fr. Don, and the staff.”
Willard was professed as a Redemptorist on Aug. 14, 2004, and ordained on June 8, 2008. He was raised on a farm near Pittsfield, Ill. After attending Illinois State University, he gained management experience in many different businesses before becoming an investment banker and an interior decorator.
Although he was successful in business, he felt unfulfilled and answered the call of God to be a priest. He graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy while engaging in missionary experiences in Mexico, Jamaica, Thailand, and China. After making his vows with the Redemptorists, he received his master’s degree in divinity from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Since his ordination, Rev. Willard has been the Associate Pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption in Whittier, Calif. While he has been very busy at a large parish with a grade school, he has also preached missions, offered retreats, and provided formation classes to members of a religious congregation. He also serves as a member of the investment council for the Denver Province of the Redemptorists.
About Liguori Publications
Liguori Publications is a collaborative ministry of Redemptorist priests and brothers and lay staff whose mission is to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through its publications. Liguorian magazine is one of the nation’s leading Catholic periodicals. Liguori also produces print and digital trade books, youth and catechetical materials for parishes and religious education programs, parish bulletins, and devotional and educational pamphlets. Learn more at Liguori.org.