Lawyer (and BC Law Dean) to Replace Cleric as New President of Catholic University

A law dean known for his scholarship on some of the most divisive issues facing the Catholic Church will be named tomorrow as the new president of Catholic University of America.

The appointment of John Garvey, who currently is serving as dean of Boston College Law School, will be only the third time in the university’s history that a non-cleric has been its president, reports the On Faith blog of the Washington Post.

Garvey, who is now 61, spent a semester at Harvard University’s divinity school before moving on to Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1974.

Although the search committee would have preferred a cleric, it sought the best candidate for the job, the Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron tells the newspaper. The archbishop of Detroit, he chairs the university board of trustees and oversaw the search for a new president.

“I’m very grateful that he’s an accomplished scholar, and I think he brings from his legal scholarship a lot of wisdom about the church’s place in contemporary society,” Vigneron says of Garvey. “He’s a very thoughtful man, very measured. He tries to bring light and insight to matters about which there’s a lot of argument.”

Garvey’s BC bio gives further details about his background.

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