After 23 years as a teacher and principal, John Crowley took the reins at Ballarat's St Patrick's College in 2015, at a tumultuous time.
He led the school through the Royal Commission and took lasting actions to recognise the school's dark history of sexual abuse.
He remained steadfast despite criticism from the broader Catholic community in Ballarat as he took groundbreaking steps to apologise to survivors, create a permanent memorial, and prioritise the safety of his students.
"It was a very difficult scenario to come into as the new leader of the school," he wrote for Shaun Carney's The Change Makers, released in 2019.
"I concluded that ultimately it came back to who we said we were as gospel people. To me, there was no other choice for us: we had to walk with the victims and survivors, to support them.
"We had to own this. What gave me great strength through that period was that our staff and board felt the same way.
"It makes me sad that the Church continues to nitpick over its preparedness to stand in the ugliness of this and say, from the very top down, with one clear voice, "This happened, we're sorry, and we are absolutely, fundamentally committed to walking a journey of healing". Not defending the indefensible in court, not seeking to continually suggest that "we're only responsible as the Catholic Church for some of it but not all of it, and there's been an unfair obsession with what happened within our church".
"To me, that is just another betrayal of victims and survivors."
- August 2014 - Formerly the principal of Ararat's Marian College, and before that deputy principal at Trinity College in Colac, Mr Crowley is appointed principal of St Patrick's College
- January 2015 - Mr Crowley officially begins at St Patrick's, taking over from Dr Peter Casey
- May 2015 - Mr Crowley attends the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Ballarat as St Patrick's representative
- June 2016 - Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale's name is struck from a college honour board, work begins on designing a memorial to survivors
- June 2017 - St Patrick's College offers a formal apology to victims of sexual abuse, memorial garden official opened
- February 2019 - Following George Pell's guilty verdict, Mr Crowley announces Pell's name will be removed from a building named in his honour, and a college honour board.
- May 2019 - Sexual abuse survivor and former St Patrick's student Peter Blenkiron acknowledged as a 'legend of St Patrick's College'
- February 2020 - Mr Crowley appointed acting principal of St Kevin's College in Toorak after Stephen Russell resigns
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.