William J. Byron

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William J. Byron
For other people named William Byron, see William Byron (disambiguation).

Rev. William James Byron, S.J. (born 1927) is a priest of the Society of Jesus. Byron served as the President of the University of Scranton from 1975 to 1982 and the President of Catholic University of America from 1982 to 1992. He is now a Professor of Business and Society at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.[1]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Byron was born in 1927 in Pittsburgh and raised in Philadelphia. He attended St. Joseph's Preparatory School, graduating in 1945. Upon his graduation, Byron served in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the United States Army in the Second World War from 1945 to 1946.[2]

Before entering the Society of Jesus in 1950, he was a student at St. Joseph’s University for three years.[3] He was ordained in 1961.

Father Byron received a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland. He also holds two theology degrees from Woodstock College, a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in economics from Saint Louis University.[4] Over the course of his career, Father Bryon has received more than twenty-five honorary degrees,[5] including an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of Scranton in 1982.[6]


Early Career[edit]

Father Byron served as a mathematics professor at Scranton Preparatory School from 1956 to 1958.[7] In 1962 he was named assistant editor of America Magazine and from 1965 to 1966 he held a teaching fellowship and a U.S. Department of Labor Manpower Research Fellowship at the University of Maryland.[8] From 1967 to 1969 he served as assistant professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and served as adjunct professor of pastoral theology at Woodstock College. He was named associate professor of social ethics and director of field education at Woodstock College.[9] When Woodstock moved from Maryland to New York City, he became rector of the Woodstock Jesuit Community. He also served as a lecturer at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Later Career[edit]

Although he originally planned to spend the academic year of 1982-1983 on sabbatical working on his books, Father Byron accepted the position of President of the Catholic University of America, where he worked from 1982 until 1992. [10] He was the twelfth president of CUA, installed on Thursday, November 18, 1982.[11] He was the first Jesuit to serve as the President of CUA, which , according to Byron, “signifie[d] cooperation between Jesuits and the Catholic hierarchy” and represented “a warm handshake” between the members of the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church administration.[12] Father Byron taught "Social Responsibilities of Business" in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University from 1992 until 2000. He also held an appointment as Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Ethics and served as rector of the Georgetown Jesuit Community.[13] From 2000 to 2003, he was pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. He served as the interim president of Loyola University New Orleans from 2003 to 2004. Father Byron worked as President of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School from 2006 until 2008.[14] Currently, he works as a Professor of Business and Society at St. Joseph’s University.

Other Achievements and Notable Events[edit]

On August 27, 1986, the University of Scranton dedicated their new William J. Byron Recreational Complex, which was built to serve the students, particularly the intermural program.[15] Rev. J.A. Panuska, S.J., president of the University of Scranton from 1982 until 1998, stated that naming this facility for Fr. Byron "provides us with a marvelous opportunity to thank him for his leadership at the University and in the region."[16]

Father Byron has served as a trustee of Loyola College in Maryland and the University of San Francisco and was a founding director and past chairman of Bread for the World.[17]

In 1999, he was the recipient of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities' Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for his contributions over the years to the advancement of Catholic higher education.[18] In the same year, Father Byron received the Council of Independent Colleges’ Academic Leadership Award.[19]

Father Byron writes a syndicated bi-weekly column, called "Looking Around," for Catholic News Service.[20] Additionally, he has written many books over his career.

He also was a guest on HBO's Da Ali G Show.


  • 1975 - Toward stewardship: An interim ethic of poverty, power, and pollution (Topics in moral argument) - ISBN 0-8091-1865-3
  • 1982 - The Causes of World Hunger - ISBN 0-8091-2483-1
  • 1989 - Quadrangle Considerations - ISBN 0-8294-0630-1
  • 1992 - Take Your Diploma and Run!: Speaking to the Next Generation - ISBN 0-8091-3306-7
  • 1995 - Take Courage: Psalms of Support and Encouragement - ISBN 1-55612-751-0
  • 1995 - Finding Work Without Losing Heart: Bouncing Back from Mid-Career Job Loss - ISBN 1-55850-481-8
  • 1998 - Answers from Within: Spiritual Guidelines for Managing Setbacks in Work and Life - ISBN 0-02-861753-3
  • 2000 - Jesuit Saturdays: Sharing the Ignatian Spirit With Lay Colleagues and Friends - ISBN 0-8294-1468-1
  • 2003 - The 365 Days of Christmas: Keeping the Wonder of It All Ever Green - ISBN 1-59244-317-6
  • 2005 - A Book of Quiet Prayer: For All the Seasons, Stages, Moods, and Circumstances of Life - ISBN 0-8091-4362-3
  • 2006 - Power of Principles: Ethics for the New Corporate Culture - ISBN 1-57075-678-3


Preceded by
Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D.
Logo of The Catholic University of America 2c.svg
President of CUA

Succeeded by
Brother Patrick Ellis, F.S.C.
Preceded by
Dexter L. Hanley, S.J.
President of the University of Scranton
1975 - 1982
Succeeded by
Joseph A. Panuska, S.J.