Robert J. Henle

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The Reverend Robert J. Henle, S.J. (September 12 1909 – January 20, 2001) was the 46th President of Georgetown University, serving from January 7, 1969 to June 30, 1976. He succeeded the Rev. Gerard J. Campbell, S.J., Georgetown’s 45th President, and was succeeded by the Rev. Timothy S. Healy, S.J. During President Henle’s administration, the university’s finances improved and Georgetown’s medical program became the second highest ranked in the country.[1]

Early life[edit]

Father Henle was born in Muscatine, Iowa to Edward M. Henle and Mary Ann Hauber. He attended primary schooling at St. Mathias School. The family moved to Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Loyola High School in that city. In 1926, Henle matriculated at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and in 1927 joined the Society of Jesus in Florissant, Missouri.[2] Henle took his Bachelor of Science in 1931 and his licentiate in philosophy in 1935. Both degrees were from Saint Louis University. He took his doctorate at the University of Toronto in 1954.[3]

Career in academia[edit]

Prior to his service at Georgetown, Father Henle was Dean of the Graduate School and the Vice President of Academics at Saint Louis University, where he pioneered the consolidation of Jesuit teaching facilities and ecumenical forms of instruction in divinity.[4] Dean Henle was also a leader in the movement to document the decline and advocate the saving of the study of the humanities after the Second World War.[5] Father Henle was a noted Thomistic scholar specializing in the Platonic influence in the philosophical and theological writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. After his Georgetown service, he returned to Saint Louis University to teach in the university’s law school. Prior to his death, he published on Aquinas's theory of law.[6] An upperclass apartment complex at Georgetown, Henle Village, is named after him.


  1. ^ President of Georgetown University Resigns Effective June 30, N.Y. Times (Oct. 21, 1975).
  2. ^ Obituary (Jan. 20, 2001).
  3. ^ Georgetown Names New Head, its 45th, N.Y. Times (Jan. 7, 1969).
  4. ^ A Jesuit School Turns to Laymen, N.Y. Times (Jan. 25, 1967).
  5. ^ Humanities Seen Losing to Science, N.Y. Times (Apr. 21, 1954); Philosophers Urged to Bar Conformity, N.Y. Times (July 10, 1957).
  6. ^ St. Louis University, Department of Philosophy, The Robert J. Henle Conference (Jan. 10, 2011)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Rev. Gerard J. Campbell, S.J.
President of Georgetown University
Succeeded by
Rev. Timothy S. Healy, S.J.