Kevin O’Brien, SJ, an experienced ministerial leader with a background in theology, philosophy, and law, will be the new dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST-SCU). Fr. O’Brien, Georgetown University’s Vice President for Mission and Ministry, will take the helm of JST-SCU on August 1, 2016.
JST-SCU is a leading institution in Catholic theological studies and ministry, providing seven graduate-level degrees to over 170 students, ordained and lay, representing more than 40 countries. JST-SCU is one of two theologates in the U.S. that provides advanced degrees and education to members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a Roman Catholic Order of priests and brothers. Its Instituto Hispano is a thriving summer certification program to train pastoral ministers within Latino communities of the Church, and its Women of Wisdom and Action program provides advanced theological degrees to women religious leaders from under-resourced regions in Asia.
"We welcome Fr. O'Brien as the next dean of the Jesuit School of Theology,” said Michael E. Engh, SJ, president of Santa Clara University. "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.”
In his current role, Fr. O’Brien is responsible for promoting Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit educational and spiritual tradition throughout five campuses. Through seminars, retreats, immersions, and ministerial outreach, as well as through his leadership of the largest campus ministry program in the country, he manages a team of 47 employees.
Fr. O’Brien has written extensively on Ignatian spirituality and Catholic Social Thought. He is author of the award winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life. As a Jesuit he has worked and lived in India, Mexico, and Bolivia, and served with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Los Angeles and on the Arizona-Mexico border.
“I am honored to serve as dean of JST, where I hope to deepen a rich collaborative environment in which the leadership of faculty is engaged for the benefit of the students and the University. Focusing on contextualized theological education, JST helps the Church think through complex contemporary issues. I also look forward to exploring how JST can help Santa Clara deepen its mission as a Catholic and Jesuit university,” said Fr. O’Brien.
Fr. O’Brien serves on the board of trustees at Marquette University, and was previously on the boards of trustees of Washington Jesuit Academy, the Jesuit Collaborative, the Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, and Boston College.
Fr. O’Brien received his licentiate in sacred theology and master of divinity degrees from Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now part of Boston College); his M.A. in philosophy from Fordham University; a J.D. with honors from University of Florida College of Law; and a B.A. in government, summa cum laude, from Georgetown.