Leo J. O'Donovan

BMW Distinguished Visitor - Class of Fall 2006

S.J., President Emeritus, Georgetown University

Current Location: Washington, DC


Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J., is president emeritus of Georgetown University and Professor of Theology. Currently residing in New York City at America House, he has been a Visiting Professor of Theology at Fordham University and serves on the Boards of the College of New Rochelle, Corpus Christi School (Chairman), Fidelis Health Care New York, Jesuit Volunteers International, and the Walt Disney Company. Fr. O'Donovan served as president of Georgetown from 1989 to 2001. As president, O'Donovan led many important new academic initiatives, including the Center for German and European Studies, the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, the Center for Social Justice, and a program to strengthen the University's Catholic and Jesuit identity. Since leaving Georgetown, and in addition to his Board service, Fr. O'Donovan has continued to be active as a priest and theologian, publishing frequent articles in theology and also in art criticism. He has been a member of President Rick Levin's Special Commission on the Religious Life of Undergraduates at Yale University and also of Mayor Anthony Williams's Blue Ribbon Committee on the Future of the Public Library of Washington, DC. Born in New York City, Fr. O'Donovan is a graduate of Georgetown University (A.B.), Fordham University (Ph. L.), Woodstock College (S. T. B. and S. T. L.), and the University of Mnster, West Germany, where he earned his doctoral degree under Karl Rahner. In 1966, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Society of Jesus. He has been awarded four honorary degrees, the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund, and The Knight Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit, with Star, of the Federal Republic of Germany. In November, O'Donovan will share his thoughts on "Between Ideology and Necessity: On the Possibility of a Global Ethics" at the American Academy.