Georgetown grad Denis McDonough (MSFS ’96) was appointed deputy national security adviser to President Obama two weeks ago.

He is replacing Thomas Donilon, who was promoted to the position of national security adviser earlier last month.

“For years, I have counted on McDonough’s expertise and counsel on national security issues,” Obama said in a press release. “He possesses a remarkable intellect, irrepressible work ethic and a sense of collegiality that has earned him the respect of his colleagues.”

cDonough’s alma mater congratulated McDonough on his appointment.

“[Masters in the School of Foreign Service program] is very proud of Denis McDonough,” Director of Georgetown’s MSFS Anthony Clark Arend said. “He reflects the best of the MSFS tradition as a person who came here with a commitment to service and has now moved into a position [in which] he is able to serve the country and serve the international system.”

cDonough has worked in the government and public service for most of his life. After his graduation from Saint John’s University in 1992, he worked as a high school teacher in Belize. He returned to the United States to enroll in Georgetown’s MSFS program.

“He was a diligent, respectful and earnest student,” history professor John McNeill said. McNeill taught McDonough in a first-year required history course. McNeill described McDonough as “a nice guy [and] a great basketball player,” but also “as hardworking as anyone in the executive branch.”

“When an opportunity comes up, he’s prepared and he seizes it,” McNeill said.

cDonough went on to work in Congress as an aide and foreign policy adviser and has served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He was one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers during the campaign, and prior to this promotion he was chief of staff of the National Security Council.

“[McDonough’s] commitment to service, his commitment to the higher goals of humanity, are part of something that has animated the School of Foreign Service,” Arend said. “He stands out as an exemplar of the type of activity we love to see our alumni engaging in.”

cDonough is among many Georgetown graduates serving in the White House, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (GRD ’74) and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer (COL ’98).”

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