Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B. retired in May 2020 after 27 years of faithful service as the major superior of the Abbey of St. Martin’s, president of St. Martin’s Abbey Corporation, chancellor of Saint Martin’s University and long-standing member of Saint Martin’s University Board of Trustees. He received a Master of Divinity at Mt. Angel Seminary in Mt. Angel, Oregon and a Master of Education with an emphasis in English at the University of Portland.
Abbot Neal entered St. Martin’s Abbey as a candidate in June of 1957 where his early duties included working in the gardens and attending to the chickens. After college graduation, he joined the faculty at Saint Martin’s High School teaching English, journalism and drama; and was a dorm prefect. When he returned from seminary he moved to Saint Martin’s College teaching English and education. During the 1980’s, he was associate pastor, then pastor, at Sacred Heart Church in Lacey, Washington, tending to a congregation of some 2,000 families.
Over the years Abbot Neal has served in a variety of positions at the Abbey including sub prior, novice master, prior, guest master, Oblate director, a member of the Senior Council and Corporate Secretary. He was elected Abbot in May 1993. As major superior, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the Abbey and St. Martin’s Abbey Corporation, and directs both the senior council and the board of directors. As University chancellor, he serves on all committees except the Audit Committee and is responsible for appointing the positions of corporate secretary and University treasurer.
His faith in the Abbey’s mission to develop and sustain Saint Martin’s University can be seen in the many University events he either participates in or officiates. For Abbot Neal, "The values taught at Saint Martin’s are the values that everyone should have: ethics, service and community."
In his spare time, Abbot Neal loves to cook, bake bread, read, bird watch, record family events with snapshots and walk—usually with Fr. Killian.