Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., (CAS ’88) will leave Georgetown to become dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University at the end of this year, according to a campus-wide email sent by President John J. DeGioia.
O’Brien will start at Santa Clara University — a Jesuit, nonprofit, private university in California — Aug. 1.
“We welcome Fr. O’Brien as the next dean of the Jesuit School of Theology,” Santa Clara University President Rev. Michael E. Engh, S.J., said in a statement on Santa Clara University’s website. “His impressive leadership experience positions him well to help JST become a premier national and international center of graduate theological teaching, research, and ministerial formation. He brings passion as well as broad pastoral, managerial, and administrative experience needed for this complex role.”
Georgetown University will begin the search process for O’Brien’s replacement in the coming weeks, according to the email.
“This announcement is the result of several months of discussions, initiated by Kevin’s religious superiors, who asked him to consider assuming leadership of this school — one of the most important institutions in Catholic theological studies and ministry,” DeGioia wrote.
DeGioia cited O’Brien’s significant contributions to the university’s religious life during his tenure.
“Kevin has animated the religious and interreligious life of our students in countless ways — serving as the Jesuit-in-Residence in Copley Hall, teaching a theology course each semester, and working closely with Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Rev. Bryant Oskvig, Imam Yahya Hendi, Fr. Gregory Schenden, S.J., V. Rev. Constantine White, Rev. Khristi Adams and others across our campuses to ensure that our students — and all members of our community — are supported in their faith traditions,” DeGioia wrote.
O’Brien joined Georgetown in 2008 as the executive director of campus ministry, where he was responsible for overseeing all ministry programs on Georgetown’s campuses.
He became vice president for mission and ministry in 2011, where he has directed mission-focused and social justice programs. O’Brien also sought to partner with campus organizations, including the Division for Students Affairs and the Center for Social Justice, and increased resources for faculty and staff in his position.
O’Brien served as associate pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C., and taught philosophy and ethics at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia before arriving at Georgetown. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University, a Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University and a licentiate in sacred theology and master of divinity degrees from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.