The Catholic University of America

Feb. 23, 2013

Catholic University Mourns the Passing of its 13th President

  Br. Patrick Ellis
  Brother Patrick Ellis, F.S.C.

Brother Patrick Ellis, F.S.C., who served as The Catholic University of America’s President from 1992 to 1998, passed away Feb. 21 at the age of 84.

During his tenure as the University’s 13th President, Brother Ellis oversaw a $3.5 million project to enhance the campus computing infrastructure and complete the fiber-optic wiring for a high-speed computer network; completed fundraising for a $33 million law school building; enhanced outreach to the Washington, D.C., community by offering additional minority scholarships; upgraded landscaping and created gardens on the campus; and provided leadership in higher education.

“As we mourn the passing of our alumnus, Brother Patrick Ellis, we will remember with gratitude his service to The Catholic University of America as its President and his lifelong dedication to Catholic education,” said Catholic University President John Garvey. “His memory will live on at the University through the Brother Patrick Ellis Chair in Education, which the University’s Board of Trustees established in his honor to enhance the department’s programs in leadership development for Catholic education.”

John Convey, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Professor of Education, who was appointed by Brother Ellis to serve as the University’s provost, recalled him as “a Christian educator who cared deeply about the formation of the whole person, academically and spiritually.”

Born in Baltimore, Brother Ellis graduated in 1946 from Baltimore's Calvert Hall College High School and joined the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He received a B.A. in English from Catholic University in 1951 and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

He joined the faculty of Philadelphia’s La Salle College in 1960 as an assistant professor of English and held various posts before becoming president in 1977, a position he held for 15 years. Under his direction, La Salle expanded academically and physically and was elevated to university status.

A spokesman for Catholic higher education, Brother Ellis was among a select group of delegates who met with Pope John Paul II in 1989 to discuss the Vatican's role in worldwide Catholic higher education. In 1996 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice papal medal in recognition of his service to the Church and the papacy.

In 1990, Catholic University honored Brother Ellis by awarding him the alumni achievement award in education
During his career as an educator, he served as chairman of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities as well as the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities. He was also president of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Philadelphia.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 8 p.m. on Feb. 27 at La Salle University’s De La Salle Chapel.



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