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Fr. Keenan Is New Jesuit Institute Head, Canisius Prof

James Keenan, SJ (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Apr. 10, 2014

Founders Professor of Theology James Keenan, SJ, director of the Presidential Scholars Program, has been named director of the Jesuit Institute and holder of the Canisius Chair.

He succeeds T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, who had served as director since 2002. Fr. Kennedy, whose term as rector of the Boston College Jesuit Community ends this year, will embark on a year-long sabbatical to Oxford University, where he will write and help to establish a center at Oxford’s Campion Hall similar to the Jesuit Institute.

“As a respected theologian and scholar, Fr. Keenan is well-suited to build on the foundations of the Jesuit Institute and to further its purpose of engaging in dialogue concerning issues of religious faith and contemporary culture,” said University President William P. Leahy, SJ. “I am grateful to him for taking on this role while continuing to teach theology and oversee the Presidential Scholars Program. I am also grateful to Fr. Kennedy for his dedicated service as director of the Jesuit Institute.”     

Fr. Keenan said he was pleased to serve as institute director. “It is an honor to assume the role of director, especially in light of the thoughtful leadership of my two predecessors, Michael J. Buckley and T. Frank Kennedy,” said Fr. Keenan. “I look forward to developing a very lively and engaging agenda at the Jesuit Institute for the Boston College community.”

The Jesuit Institute was established in 1988 to support the Jesuit, Catholic mission and character of Boston College. Initially funded through a gift from the BC Jesuit Community and subsequently supported by many generous donations, the institute works in collaboration with BC’s schools, faculty and programs to promote personal research, academic interchange and inquiry into questions that emerge at the intersection of faith and culture. It sponsors a number of interdisciplinary seminars, research fellowships, academic retreats and public debates and lectures, including the annual Canisius Lecture.

In addition, Myles Sheehan, SJ, provincial of the New England Province of Jesuits, has announced that Robert Keane, SJ, a retired captain in the US Navy Chaplain’s Corps and the current director of special projects in mission at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, has been named the new rector of the Boston College Jesuit Community. He will succeed Fr. Kennedy beginning in July.