Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

O’Donovan Aims To Complete Goals

University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., has six months of work planned for his last two months in office. The outgoing president may be the administrative equivalent of a second-semester senior, but he refuses to play the part.

O’Donovan’s 11-year tenure will end on July 1 when Senior Vice President John J. DeGioia takes office as the 48th university president and the first layman to head the nation’s oldest Catholic university.

Until then, O’Donovan has filled his agenda with work on new projects and old initiatives, many of which reflect the themes and values that have defined his term as president.

Two of the ongoing projects, the university’s $1 billion fundraising campaign and the university’s partnership with a regional healthcare provider, have helped put the university on firmer financial footing.

O’Donovan plans to continue soliciting alumni donations for the $1 billion Third Century Campaign, the most ambitious and successful fundraising drive in Georgetown’s history, he said in an interview Tuesday.

He says the campaign has not just raised money, but has improved relations between alumni and the university.

“It’s not just to put money in the bank,” he said.

O’Donovan has proven himself a prolific fundraiser, leading the campaign that began in 1995 with a goal of $500 million and has since been extended twice and raised over $650 million. The university’s board of directors hopes to have raised $1 billion by 2003.

O’Donovan also plans to spend time meeting with representatives from the Medical Center and MedStar Health Systems as they approach the one-year anniversary of the completion of their clinical partnership.

The partnership came after years of financial problems at the edical Center, which culminated with losses of $57 million in Fiscal Year 1997 and $62 million in Fiscal Year 1998. Under the partnership, MedStar Health owns, operates and has financial responsibility for the Georgetown University Hospital. The university maintains control of the research and academic enterprises at the Medical Center.

When DeGioia becomes president, he will inherit O’Donovan’s seat on the MedStar Health Systems board of directors, but until then, O’Donovan says he plans to spend time smoothing the transition at the Medical Center.

“It is going well,” O’Donovan said of the partnership, “but it is always challenging getting two institutions to work together.”

O’Donovan also plans to continue overseeing construction projects that are changing the face of the campus. Upcoming projects include renovations to the Nursing School, a group of new buildings at the Law Center campus and the construction of a new boathouse. New South is the next dormitory scheduled for renovations as part of a $100 million program to renovate campus dorms.

Besides the administrative duties, O’Donovan also plans to continue working on student life and academic issues. He says he plans to continue attending weekly dinners with students and will speak at the convocation ceremony on the Monday of graduation, the second event of its kind to bring students from all the undergraduate schools together.

“It is the students the university is formed around,” O’Donovan said.

O’Donovan also plans to continue his work on financial aid policy and says that he takes particular pride in Georgetown’s continued commitment to need-blind admissions.

He will also be involved in ongoing faculty searches, including those for a new university librarian and dean of the graduate school and he hopes to find professors to fill chairs in Catholic Social Thought and at the Kennedy Center for Ethics.

In addition to the rest of his plans, O’Donovan will continue giving speeches.

“Things always calm down in May,” he said, with no hint of sarcasm.

After he steps down, O’Donovan says he plans to take a year off and “decompress for a while.” He will relax at the beach and write. He says he already has a few projects that he is considering. He will live at America House, a Jesuit residence in New York City.

But after that year is up, O’Donovan says his plans are still uncertain.

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