Royden B. Davis

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Royden B. Davis, S.J. (c. October 19, 1923/1924 – April 2, 2002) served as Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University from 1966 to 1989.[1]

Born in Ventnor City, New Jersey, Davis served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 as a gunner in an anti-aircraft battery.[2] He earned a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1947 and a law degree in 1949 from Georgetown University. In 1950, he entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of Saint Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. In 1955, he earned a master's degree in political science and a licentiate in philosophy from Saint Louis University. He received a licentiate in theology from Woodstock College in 1960. Following a year of study in Belgium, he returned to Georgetown University for additional graduate studies in government from 1961 to 1965.

Ordained to the priesthood on June 21, 1959, by Archbishop Francis Patrick Keough, he pronounced his final vows in the Society of Jesus on February 2, 1967.

Davis began his career at Georgetown University in 1965 when he was named dean of freshmen and assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1966, he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a post that he would hold until 1989.

In 1969, Davis welcomed the admission of the first women students to Georgetown's College of Arts and Sciences. He oversaw the inauguration of the American Studies Program, the expansion of the Fine Arts Department, the establishment and growth of the Psychology Department, and the creation of the Sociology and Computer science departments.

In 1985, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Georgetown.[3]

After retirement in 1989, he directed Georgetown's Foreign Studies Program in Florence, Italy and, in 1990, served as chair of a committee commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Ignatius of Loyola.

In 1991, Davis returned to the University of Scranton, where he had taught briefly in the 1950s, to serve as rector of the Jesuit Community at Scranton. In this role, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of Scranton and Scranton Preparatory School.[1]

In 1992, he had an endowed chair in interdisciplinary studies at Georgetown named in his honor.[4] The Royden B. Davis, S.J., College Chair was established through gifts of friends, alumni, parents and students, to allow distinguished individuals in the humanities, arts, sciences or social sciences to spend a semester's residence at Georgetown University.[1]

At the conclusion of his service as rector in 1997, he remained at the University of Scranton as an associate campus minister and chaplain of the Panuska College of Professional Studies.[1]

In 1997, the University of Scranton presented Davis with the Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Award for Ignatian Mission and Ministries, which recognizes persons who have made significant contributions to the Ignation mission.[1]

He died on April 2, 2002, and was buried on April 5[5] in the Jesuit Community cemetery on the campus of Georgetown University.

In 2005, Georgetown University dedicated the Royden B. Davis S.J. Performing Arts Center to his memory.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e University of Scranton Press Release
  2. ^ Estrada, Louie. "The Rev. Royden B. Davis; Georgetown Dean", The Washington Post, April 4, 2002. Accessed September 9, 2012. "The Rev. [Royden B. Davis], 78, a Jesuit priest who was dean of Georgetown University's college of arts and sciences from 1966 to 1989, died of congestive heart failure April 2 at the Jesuit residence at the University of Scranton (Pa.).... Father Davis was a native of Ventnor City, N.J."
  3. ^ Georgetown Honorary Degree Citation
  4. ^ Davis Chair Press Release
  5. ^ Letter to the Editor
  6. ^ Davis Performing Arts Center
Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J.
Dean of Georgetown College
Succeeded by
Robert B. Lawton, S.J.