Alphonsus J. Donlon
|36th President of Georgetown University|
|Preceded by||Joseph J. Himmel|
|Succeeded by||John B. Creeden|
|Born||October 30, 1867|
Albany, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 3, 1923 55) (aged|
Tarrytown, New York
|Resting place||Fordham University Cemetery|
|Ordination||June 28, 1903|
by James Gibbons
Alphonsus J. Donlon(October 30, 1867 – September 3, 1923) was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who spent his career in priestly ministry and academia, including as president of Georgetown University from 1912 to 1918. Born in Albany, New York, he garnered a reputation as a good student and an exceptional collegiate athlete. As a professor, he went on to lead Georgetown University's sports program, which enjoyed great success. As a result, he became known as the "father of Georgetown athletics." He served as a professor of various sciences at Georgetown University and at Woodstock College, and as president of the former, he oversaw the removal of Georgetown Preparatory School from the university to a separate campus, and proposed the creation of the School of Foreign Service. For a significant portion of his career, he also served as a chaplain to Georgetown Visitation Monastery. In his later years, he engaged in pastoral work at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City and taught at Fordham University.
Alphonsus Donlon was born on October 30, 1867, in Albany, New York, to father Patrick Donlon and mother Julia Howard Donlon, a native of Albany.His father emigrated to the United States from Ireland as a young boy with his mother and sister, while Alphonsus' mother was a native of Albany, who died when he was eighteen months old. For this reason, Julia's mother and her sister largely raised Alphonsus and his six siblings.
He first attended the parochial school at St. Mary's Church, which was conducted out of the chapel of the Sisters of Charity.After receiving his First Communion, he enrolled at The Albany Academy, where he remained until the age of fifteen. In 1883, he continued his education at Georgetown Preparatory School, and then at Georgetown College the following year. At college, he excelled in such sports as baseball, football, tennis, and track. During his freshman year, he made the first-string baseball team as a shortstop, and remained in this position for the duration of his time at Georgetown. Academically, he was likewise accomplished, receiving the Goff Philosophical Medal and the Medal for Mechanics. Here, he was known among his friends by the nickname Al. Donlon received his bachelor's degree in 1888 and subsequently enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he studied electrical engineering. After his first year at MIT, he studied for the summer in Europe. Upon his return in 1889, he decided to withdraw in order to pursue the priesthood.
Donlon entered the Jesuit order on October 11, 1889.He proceeded to Frederick, Maryland, where he completed his novitiate in 1891. That year, he began his two years of study of the classics in Frederick, and followed it with three years philosophy and science, which he completed in 1895. Following his studies, he returned to Georgetown College in 1895, where he assumed a teaching position in physics, mechanics, geology, and astronomy. It was during this time as a teacher that he gained the informal title of "father of Georgetown athletics." As the faculty director of athletics, he coached all of Georgetown's teams, which went on to be highly successful.
Donlon remained at Georgetown until 1900, when he left for Woodstock College in Maryland to study theology. On June 28, 1903,he was ordained a priest by Cardinal James Gibbons at Woodstock College, and he completed his theological studies in 1904. From there, he went to Poughkeepsie, New York, to fulfill his tertianship under Fr. Pardow, which lasted until 1905. Donlon then returned again to Georgetown, where he resumed his teaching. In 1906, he left again for Woodstock, where he taught physics until 1911. On February 2, 1907, he attained gradus and professed his solemn vows to the Society of Jesus.
On October 10, 1911, Donlon was appointed the socius, or principal advisor,to the provincial superior of the Maryland Province of the Jesuits. After remaining in this position for more than a year, he was appointed the president of Georgetown University on January 23, 1912, succeeding Joseph J. Himmel. His style of leadership was one of ample delegation of responsibilities to subordinates and considerable deference to their judgment, some attributing it to his natural passivity and lack of any particular aptitude for the presidency.
Among his accomplishments as president was establishing a strong alumni association across the country.He also oversaw the unveiling of the statue of Bishop John Carroll in 1912. Another of Donlon's marks on Georgetown was his proposal to start a "school of Political and Social Science," which would include a "school of diplomacy" and would be connected with Georgetown Law School. He presented his proposal to the Jesuit consultors on March 31, 1913, who approved; he subsequently submitted his proposal to the Jesuit curia in Rome, but no action was taken. Though this proposal did not materialize until after his presidency, his proposition ultimately led to the creation of the School of Foreign Service. Donlon remained as president of Georgetown until May 1, 1918, when he requested provincial superior to relieve him of the office by a Jesuit with greater vitality. He was succeeded by John B. Creeden.
Seeing a need to separate the preparatory division from the division of higher education at Georgetown, Donlon also was responsible for the relocation of Georgetown Preparatory School to its campus in North Bethesda, Maryland. 92 acres (37 hectares). Construction of a new building was largely enabled by a donation by Class of 1869 alumnus Henry Walters. Though originally contributing $80,000, Walters increased his anonymous donation to $130,000 when Donlon expressed his worry over the increasing cost of the project. On October 25, 1916, ground was broken on the new, Georgian Revival building, with Donlon in attendance and the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Giovanni Bonzano, ceremonially turning the first soil. Due to the outbreak of World War I, the building was not completed until 1919.He led fundraising to permit the purchase of land in the Maryland countryside on which to build the school, and traveled the area to locate such a suitable property. Having secured the permission of the Jesuit provincial, the President and Directors of Georgetown College purchased
In 1905, Donlon was appointed chaplain to the nuns at the nearby Georgetown Visitation Monaster, and held this position until his death. During his subsequent presidency of Georgetown, he ensured that the sisters of Georgetown Visitation Monastery receive degrees from Georgetown by opening a summer school for the sisters, staffed by some of the best teachers in the Maryland Province, which covered a broad range of subjects.Donlon regularly attended the sisters' debates, musical performances, and dramatical performances, officiated at their celebrations, and led their students on retreats.
When he was transferred to do pastoral work in New York, Donlon continued to work with the monastery. He would send promising students to the monastery, and led the community in a retreat in 1922, which was said to have impressed many of the sisters.
Immediately following his presidency of Georgetown, Donlon was slated to go to Boston as pastor of St. Mary's Church.He is also recorded as teaching at Brooklyn College from 1918 to 1919. He then served as a minister at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan from 1919 to 1920, where he was made the prefect of the church. He also served as the secretary of Xavier High School in 1920. He then transitioned to pastoral work at the same church, which he did until 1923.
In July 1923, Donlon was appointed a professor of philosophy at Fordham University.
Donlon was conducting a retreat at Manhattanville College in Tarrytown, New York, on August 31, 1923, when he suddenly suffered a heart attack at 11 a.m. while leaving the chapel.After consultation with a doctor, it was intended that he be brought to St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. However, at 11 p.m. on September 3, 1923, he died in the infirmary at Manhattanville. He was then buried in the Fordham University Cemetery.
Georgetown Preparatory School is a Jesuit college-preparatory school in North Bethesda, Maryland for boys in ninth through twelfth grade. It has a 93 acres (380,000 m2) campus. With an annual tuition of $56,665 in 2015, it is the 4th most expensive boarding school in the United States. It is the only Jesuit boarding school in the United States and is in the district of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
Leo Jeremiah O'Donovan III is an American Catholic priest, Jesuit, and theologian who served as the president of Georgetown University from 1989 to 2001. Born in New York City, he graduated from Georgetown, and while studying in France, decided to enter the Society of Jesus. He went on to receive advanced degrees from Fordham University and Woodstock College, and received his doctorate in theology from the University of Münster, where he studied under Karl Rahner. Upon returning to the United States, he became a professor at Woodstock College and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, before becoming the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and a senior administrator in the Jesuit Maryland Province.
John Early was an Irish-American Catholic priest and Jesuit educator who was the president of the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University, as well as the founder and first president of Loyola College in Maryland. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to the United States at the age of nineteen. Upon his arrival, he enrolled at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland, and entered the Society of Jesus, completing his education at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Edward Bernard Bunn was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who became the president of Loyola College in Maryland and later of Georgetown University. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was educated at Loyola College before entering the Society of Jesus in 1919. He continued his education at St. Andrew-on-Hudson Woodstock College, and the Pontifical Gregorian University and then taught at Brooklyn Preparatory School and Canisius College.
Bernard A. Maguire was an Irish-American Catholic priest and Jesuit who served twice as the president of Georgetown University. Born in Ireland, he emigrated to the United States at the age of six, and his family settled in Maryland. Maguire attended Saint John's College in Frederick, Maryland, and then entered the Society of Jesus in 1837. He continued his studies at Georgetown University, where he also taught and was prefect, until his ordination to the priesthood in 1851.
Charles William Lyons was an American Catholic priest who became the only Jesuit and likely the only educator in the United States to have served as the president of four colleges. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he attended the local public schools before entering the wool industry. He abandoned his career in industry to enter the Society of Jesus. While a novice in Maryland, he suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent to Georgetown University as prefect. He then resumed his studies at Woodstock College, teaching intermittently at Gonzaga College in Washington, D.C. and Loyola College in Baltimore. After his ordination, he became a professor at St. Francis Xavier College in New York City and at Boston College.
James Aloysius Doonan was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit, who was the president of Georgetown University from 1882 to 1888. During that time he oversaw the naming of Gaston Hall and the construction of a new building for the School of Medicine. Doonan also acquired two historic cannons that were placed in front of Healy Hall. He was a financially successful president, reducing the university's burdensome debt that had accrued during the construction of Healy Hall.
James A. Ryder was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who became the president of several Jesuit universities in the United States. Born in Ireland, he immigrated with his widowed mother to the United States as a child, to settle in Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. He enrolled at Georgetown College and then entered the Society of Jesus. Studying in Maryland and Rome, Ryder proved to be a talented student of theology and was made a professor. He returned to Georgetown College in 1829, where he was appointed to senior positions and founded the Philodemic Society, becoming its first president.
Anthony F. Ciampi was an Italian-American priest of the Catholic Church and member of the Society of Jesus.
Joseph Havens Richards was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who became a prominent president of Georgetown University, where he instituted major reforms and significantly increased the quality and stature of the university. Born to a prominent Ohio family, his father was an Episcopal priest who controversially converted to Catholicism, and had the infant Richards secretly baptized as a Catholic. Richards eventually entered the Society of Jesus.
Joseph J. Himmel was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit. For much of his early life, he was a missionary throughout the northeast United States and retreat master. Later in life, he was president of Gonzaga College and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
John William Beschter was a Catholic priest and Jesuit from the Duchy of Luxembourg in the Austrian Netherlands. He emigrated to the United States as a missionary in 1807, where he ministered in rural Pennsylvania and Maryland. Beschter was the last Jesuit pastor of St. Mary's Church in Lancaster, as well as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He was also a priest at several other German-speaking churches in Pennsylvania.
William Feiner was a German Catholic priest and Jesuit who became a missionary to the United States and eventually the president of Georgetown College, now known as Georgetown University.
Jerome Daugherty was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who served in many different capacities at Jesuit institutions throughout the northeast United States, eventually becoming president of Georgetown University in 1901. Born in Baltimore, he was educated at Loyola College in Maryland, before entering the Society of Jesus and becoming a member of the first class at Woodstock College. He then taught various subjects, including mathematics, Latin, Ancient Greek, rhetoric, and the humanities in Massachusetts, New York City, and Washington, D.C., and served as minister at many of the institutions there.
John B. Creeden was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit, who served in many senior positions at Jesuit universities in the United States. Born in Massachusetts, he attended Boston College, and studied for the priesthood in Maryland and Austria. He taught at Fordham University and then at Georgetown University, where he was made Dean of Georgetown College in 1909, and simultaneously served as principal of Georgetown Preparatory School.
James A. Ward was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit. He taught for many years at Georgetown and at the novitiate in Frederick, Maryland, of which he twice served as rector. He then became the vice president of Georgetown and was influential in the early years of Loyola College in Maryland. From 1857 to 1860, he was the President of Saint Joseph's College. He spent his later years as socius (assistant) to the Jesuit provincial superior in New York City, and teaching.
Francis Xavier Talbot was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who was active in Catholic literary and publishing circles, and became the President of Loyola College in Maryland. Born in Philadelphia, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1906, and was educated at St. Andrew-on-Hudson and Woodstock College. He taught for several years in New York City and at Boston College, before entering publishing as the literary editor of America magazine in 1923, of which he became the editor-in-chief in 1936. While in this role, he was also active in founding and editing several academic journals, including Thought, and establishing various Catholic literary societies and book clubs. During World War II, he was chaplain to a Catholic organization that previewed movies for the National Legion of Decency. He also supported Franco's rule in Spain because of its support of Catholicism and opposition to communism; he also supported the US war effort. He was described as one of the early leaders of the revival of Catholic literature in the United States.
Fordham University Cemetery is a Catholic cemetery on the campus of Fordham University in the Bronx. Established in 1847, it was moved to its current location in 1890. The last burial occurred in 1909. The cemetery holds 138 graves, 124 of which contain the remains of Jesuits. The remainder were others associated with Fordham University or the Jesuit order.
Edward Ignatius Devitt was a Canadian American priest, Jesuit, and historian of the American Catholic Church. Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, he moved with his family to Boston, Massachusetts, at a young age. He studied in public schools in the city before enrolling at the College of the Holy Cross. Devitt spent two years there, and then entered the Society of Jesus in 1859. He studied at the novitiate in Frederick, Maryland, and at the newly opened Woodstock College. He briefly taught at the Washington Seminary during his studies, and after graduating, was a professor for the next thirty years at Holy Cross, Woodstock, and Georgetown University.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alphonsus J. Donlon .|
Joseph J. Himmel
|36th President of Georgetown University |
John B. Creeden