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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Patrick F. Healy, S.J.: Georgetown University President, 1873-1882

This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Booth Family Center for Special Collection for research on Patrick F. Healy, S.J.

Timeline

 

Patrick F. Healy, S.J. is one of Georgetown University’s most dynamic presidents and is credited with transforming Georgetown from a small liberal arts college into a modern university. In addition to raising funds for a large new building which today bears his name and to overseeing its construction, he undertook to expand the curriculum by increasing studies in science and English, to implement more strenuous graduation requirements, and to to improve the professional schools. 

Born in Georgia in 1834, Father Healy was the third son of Michael Morris Healy, an Irish immigrant, and an enslaved woman named Eliza. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1850 and served as Georgetown President from 1873 to 1882. Neither the Jesuit Order nor Father Healy acknowledged his racial heritage during his lifetime and no African Americans were admitted to Georgetown College while he was President.

 

1834

 

Born near Macon, Georgia on February 27

 

1844

 

Enrolls at Holy Cross College at Worcester, Massachusetts in August

 

1850

 

Mother dies on May 19

Graduates from Holy Cross on July 25

Father dies on August 29

Enters the Jesuit Novitiate at Frederick, Maryland in September

 

1853

 

Returns to Holy Cross to teach

 

1858

 

Comes to Georgetown to study philosophy and theology

Transferred to Rome, Italy where he arrives on December 19

 

1859

 

Goes to study at the University of Louvain in Belgium

 

1864

 

Ordained to the priesthood

 

1865

 

Earns a Ph.D. from Louvain

 

1866

 

Returns to Georgetown to teach philosophy

 

1867

 

Professes final vows as a Jesuit on February 2

 

1869

 

Becomes Prefect of Studies (Dean of the College)

 

1873

 

Becomes acting President on May 23

Georgetown sophomores and juniors begin studying chemistry

 

1874

 

Becomes President when the acting portion of his title is removed on July 31 

Engages two architects, John L. Smithmeyer and Paul Pelz to design a new building which will later become known as Healy Hall

 

1877

 

Construction begins on Healy Hall; the cornerstone is laid on December 12

Begins Georgetown’s first fundraising campaign since John Carroll circulated his Proposals in 1787 in December, to fund the construction of Healy Hall

 

1878

 

Medical School increases its course of studies from two to three years and lengthens its academic calendar from five to seven months

Law Department establishes a one-year Master’s program devoted especially to proficiency in practice

Doctors insist on a brief vacation in California for health reasons in November

Travels extensively to fund raise between December 1878 and June 1880

 

1879

 

Georgetown awards the Bachelor of Science degree for the first time

 

1880

 

Invites alumni to form an Alumni Association

 

1881

 

Healy Hall opens

 

ca. 1881

 

Signs Medical School rules which specify that No other than white male students shall be admitted to this school

 

1882

 

Resigns for health reasons on February 16

Students meet on February 18 and resolve That we, the students of Georgetown, in [Father Healy’s] resignation lose a Superior whose management of the College has always conduced to its honor and prosperity, and whose relations with ourselves and former students have always been of the most pleasant character 

 

1900

 

The name Healy Hall is applied for the first time to the building previously known as the Main Building or the New Building on September 17

 

1910

 

Dies in the Georgetown College infirmary on January 19 and is buried in the Jesuit Cemetery on campus

 

1974

 

Father Healy’s tombstone is restored by the Patrick healy Commemorative Committee established to observe the 100th anniversary of Father healy becoming president

Mass observing the 100th anniversary of his becoming president is celebrated by Archbishop of Washington in Dahlgren Chapel on July 31

 

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