Woodstock College was a Jesuit seminary that existed from 1869 to 1974. It was the oldest Jesuit seminary in the United States.The school was located in Woodstock, Maryland, west of Baltimore, from its establishment until 1969, when it moved to New York City, where it operated in cooperation with the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary. The school closed in 1974. It was survived by the Woodstock Theological Center, an independent, nonprofit Catholic research institute located at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Woodstock College was originally located along the Patapsco River in Woodstock, Maryland, west of Baltimore. It incorporated in 1867, and opened on September 22, 1869.
In the 1960s, the college began considering affiliating with an urban university.
The argument to move the school into a city and place it in affiliation with broader network of institutions of higher learning received decisive support from the newest ideas of theological education and priestly formation emerging from the Second Vatican Council and the Jesuits' own Thirty-First General Congregation. In consequence, the college closed its original campus and moved to New York City, New York in 1969where it operated in cooperation with the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Controversies over the merits of the move into the city, specific controversies arising over the life style of the Jesuits in training in New York, and a general desire of the order to consolidate their theology schools nationally led to the school's closure in 1974.
It was survived until 2013 by the Woodstock Theological Center,an independent, nonprofit Catholic research institute located at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The theological library retains its independence through an affiliation with the library at Georgetown University, where it is still housed.
The original campus buildings in Woodstock, Maryland are now used as a Job Corps Center, while the campus grounds are part of Patapsco Valley State Park.
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.
The Woodstock Theological Center was an independent, nonprofit Catholic theological research institute in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1973, the center took its name from Woodstock College, a former Jesuit seminary located in Maryland. The center was an associate member of the Washington Theological Consortium. Until it closed, the center was housed at Georgetown University.
Anthony Kohlmann, was an Alsatian Catholic priest, missionary, and Jesuit educator. He played a decisive role in the early formation of the Diocese of New York, where he was the subject of a lawsuit that for the first time recognized the confessional privilege in the United States, and served as the president of Georgetown College from 1817 to 1820.
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.
Burchard Villiger (1816-1897) was appointed Santa Clara University's fourth president in 1861 after the presidency of Felix Cicaterri. Burchard Villiger had served as the president of two Jesuit Colleges in the east. During his presidency at Santa Clara University in California United States he had built the Science Building, a Jesuit Residence, and the Facade of the Old Mission Church. He served as president till 1865 which coincided with the Civil War. Later Villiger was rector of the College of the Sacred Heart in Woodstock, Maryland where he died in 1903.
Gerard John Campbell was an American Catholic priest, Jesuit, and historian who became the president of Georgetown University. Born in Pennsylvania, he entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 20 and studied at West Baden College and Fordham University, before earning his doctorate at Princeton University. A promising historian, he then taught at Loyola University Maryland, before becoming the executive vice president of Georgetown University in 1963, where he effectively worked as acting president.
Joseph Francis Hanselman was an American Catholic priest and member of the Society of Jesus. In the academic world, he served as the president of the College of the Holy Cross and rector of Woodstock College. He also was the superior of the Maryland-New York Province of the Jesuits and as the American assistant to the Jesuit Superior General in Rome.
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.
Alphonsus J. Donlon 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.
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.
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.
Joseph Hunter Guthrie was an American academic philosopher, writer, Jesuit, and Catholic priest. Born in New York City, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1917, and began his studies at Woodstock College. Following his undergraduate and graduate work there, he taught at Jesuit institutions in the Philippines until 1927. Following his ordination in 1930, he received doctorates in theology and philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Paris, respectively. He then returned to the United States, where he became a professor of philosophy at Woodstock College and Fordham University.
Charles Henry Stonestreet was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit who served in prominent religious and academic positions, including as provincial superior of the Jesuit Maryland Province and president of Georgetown University. He was born in Maryland and attended Georgetown University, where he co-founded the Philodemic Society. After entering the Society of Jesus and becoming a professor at Georgetown, he led St. John's Literary Institution and St. John the Evangelist Church in Frederick, Maryland. He was appointed president of Georgetown University in 1851, holding the office for two years, during which time he oversaw expansion of the university's library. The First Plenary Council of Baltimore was held at Georgetown during his tenure.
William Feiner was a German Catholic priest and Jesuit who became a missionary to the United States and eventually the president of Georgetown College.
Enoch Fenwick was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit, who ministered throughout Maryland and became the president of Georgetown College. Descending from one of the original Catholic settlers of the British Maryland Province, he studied at Georgetown College in Washington, D.C. Like his brother and future bishop, Benedict Joseph Fenwick, he entered the priesthood, studying at St. Mary's Seminary, before entering the Society of Jesus, which was suppressed at the time. He was made rector of St. Peter's Pro-Cathedral in Baltimore by Archbishop John Carroll, and remained in the position for ten years. Near the end of his pastorate, he was also made vicar general of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which involved traveling to say Mass in remote parishes throughout rural Maryland.
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.
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.
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.
Woodstock College, the Jesuit theology school being phased out here, will transfer some of its resources and assets to a new Jesuit research center to be established in Washington.