Boston College Education Dean Selected to Lead the University
Newswise — The Saint Joseph’s University Board of Trustees elected Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J., as the University’s 27th President. Currently the dean of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, Father O’Keefe will take office May 18, 2011. He will succeed Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., who is leaving at the end of the current academic year to become president of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
“The members of the Board of Trustees are excited to introduce Fr. O’Keefe as the next president of Saint Joseph’s University,” said Paul Hondros ’70, chair of Saint Joseph’s Board of Trustees. “We were seeking a leader with a deep commitment to education and academic excellence as well as the vision to advance the University and address the needs of the students of the future. Fr. O’Keefe more than fulfills those aspirations.
“Fr. O’Keefe’s success as a leader at Boston College and his deeply rooted commitment to the Jesuit, Catholic tradition make him extraordinarily qualified to boldly move Saint Joseph’s forward at a challenging time for higher education,” he added.
“The election of Fr. O’Keefe followed an intensive and rigorous search, and I thank the committee members for their dedication to this process,” said Robert Falese ’69, who chaired the search committee. “We sought a leader with superlative credentials, including scholarly excellence, significant leadership experience and success in fundraising. Clearly, we have found what we were looking for in Fr. O’Keefe.”
During his tenure as dean, he was instrumental in securing two major gifts: $20 million to launch the Lynch Leadership Academy, a training program for novice principals in urban schools; and $20 million for the Center for Catholic Education, a clearinghouse for research, policy and practice on issues critical to Catholic schools and universities.
A nationally and internationally renowned educator with expertise in urban Catholic schools, international comparative education and community service learning, Fr. O’Keefe holds a doctoral degree in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross and master’s degrees in French literature and divinity from Fordham University and Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, respectively.
“I am honored by the vote of confidence of the Board of Trustees and to have the opportunity to serve Saint Joseph’s University as its 27th president, Fr. O’Keefe said. “And I am excited by the challenges of building on the momentum here, working with an outstanding and dedicated faculty and advancing the vital partnerships Saint Joseph’s has with the local, regional and global communities. It’s a beautiful campus in an exciting and vibrant city, and I can’t wait to call both my home.”
Fr. O’Keefe has been the dean at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education since 2005, after serving as the School’s associate dean (2001-03) and then interim dean (2003-05). He has written extensively about Catholic education and the challenges facing Catholic schools, both urban and rural, in the 21st century, with a focus on providing educational opportunities at all levels, particularly for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and underserved populations.
“Saint Joseph’s is indeed fortunate to have found such a consummate leader,” said Fr. Lannon. “While for me it will be a bittersweet departure, I am thrilled to know that the University will be in the hands of Fr. O’Keefe, whose accomplishments in the education arena are a testament to his outstanding academic leadership.”
Fr. O’Keefe serves on the boards of Loyola University in New Orleans and Marquette University in Milwaukee. He has been a visiting scholar at Catholic University of America and Australian Catholic University and a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University, where he held the Jesuit Chair in Education.