John H. Garvey

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John H. Garvey
15th President of the
Catholic University of America
Assumed office
January 25, 2011
Preceded by David M. O'Connell
Personal details
Born (1948-09-28) September 28, 1948 (age 69)
Sharon, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s) Jeanne Walter Garvey
Alma mater
Profession University administrator, legal scholar

John Hugh Garvey (born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, September 28, 1948) is the 15th President of the Catholic University of America.[1] Trained as a lawyer, Garvey assumed his current position in 2011.[2] It has been said that "by pretty much any standard one cares to cite, [he] is among the more intriguing figures on the U.S. Catholic landscape these days"[2] and that his appointment as University head was a "scandal".[3]


John H. Garvey attended the University of Notre Dame where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He was candidate for a Master of Theological Studies degree at Harvard Divinity School (1970–71), and then entered the Harvard Law School, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1974.[citation needed]


Garvey was law clerk to Irving R. Kaufman, United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit from 1974 to 1975, associate of Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco, California, from 1975 to 1976, assistant to solicitor general, United States Department of Justice, from 1981 to 1984, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law from 1976 to 1994, visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School from 1985 to 1986, professor at the Notre Dame Law School from 1994 to 1999 and dean of Boston College Law School from 1999 to 2010.


In September 2009, Garvey joined 75 fellow Boston College Law faculty members in a letter denouncing the actions of faculty member Scott Fitzgibbon and stating that his statements critical of same-sex marriage were his personal opinion and not the teaching of the Law School. This has led to articles in Catholic Culture criticizing his later appointment as president of CUA.[4]

Garvey has also been criticized for allowing pro-choice speakers at Boston College Law School.[5]

In a self-published article in the Wall Street Journal, Garvey announced the decision to change the Catholic University of America's dormitory policy, opting for single sex dormitories, instead of the more commonplace co-ed by floor policy. Although the decision was received relatively well with parents, many students and advocacy groups challenged the policy as a form of sexism. The DC Office of Human Rights dismissed one plaintiff's case concluding that "same-sex dormitories do not constitute unlawful discrimination."[6][7] The policy was gradually implemented into sophomore housing by 2012.

Presidency of the Catholic University of America[edit]

On June 15, 2010, Garvey was appointed CUA's 15th president, effective July 1, 2010.[8]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 18, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Catholics and the 'trolley problem' of the presidential elections". Crux. 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  4. ^ "a Catholic identity for Catholic University". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  5. ^ "News | LifeSite". Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  6. ^ "John F. Banzhaf III v. John Garvey" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  7. ^ "D.C. ruling: Same-sex dorms not discriminatory". 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  8. ^ "Announcement of New CUA President". Retrieved 2016-05-19. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David M. O'Connell
President of the
Catholic University of America