Manhattan College to Inaugurate Brennan O'Donnell, Ph.D., as 19th President

Manhattan College will inaugurate Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., as its 19th president on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

 Manhattan College will inaugurate Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D., as its 19th president on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The installation ceremony, the culmination of a weeklong series of events under the theme The Work is Yours: Work, Career & Vocation in Lasallian Catholic Education, will take place in the College’s Draddy Gymnasium at 1:00 p.m.

O’Donnell, who began his position on July 1, is the first layperson to serve as president in the 156-year history of Manhattan College, a Lasallian Catholic institution founded by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. The Brothers’ history dates back to 17th-century France and their founder, John Baptist de La Salle, designated by the Catholic Church as the Patron Saint of Teachers.
“The inauguration gives us an opportunity to commemorate the College’s past, celebrate its present and imagine its future,” O’Donnell says. “Events will include liturgical celebrations, student performances, academic symposia and historical exhibitions, all focused on the great work we’re so privileged to do here at Manhattan – educating students not just to take their place in the world of work, but to find their life’s vocation within a rich context of values.”
Prior to arriving at Manhattan, O’Donnell served as dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham University’s oldest and largest school, a college of arts and sciences with more than 3,200 students and over 200 faculty – an academic unit close to the size of Manhattan College.
A complete listing of inaugural events can be found at Members of the media who would like to cover the installation ceremony should contact Scott Silversten at (718) 862-7232 or e-mail Manhattan College is located at West 242nd Street near Broadway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, one mile from the Westchester County line and accessible by MTA subway line No. 1.
O’Donnell spent nearly two decades (1987-2004) as a professor in the department of English at Loyola College of Maryland (now Loyola University Maryland), where he also served as director of the honors program (1999-2004), overseeing university-wide interdisciplinary humanities program that enrolls about 200 students under the instruction of more than 20 faculty members from seven departments. His career began as a teaching assistant in the department of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1983-1986).
O’Donnell has been a member of the board of Collegium, a national organization of Catholic colleges and universities that supports faculty seeking to deepen their understanding of the intellectual tradition informing their institutions, and the board of the Lilly Fellows Program, which seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning for the 21st century.
O’Donnell earned his B.A. in English at Penn State University (1981) and received M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature and language from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Passion of Meter: A Study of Wordsworth’s Metrical Art and Numerous Verse: A Guide to the Stanzas and Metrical Structures of Wordsworth’s Poetry, as well as numerous other journal articles and papers. In addition, he is the recipient of various awards and honors, including membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most widely known academic honor society.
In taking over Manhattan College, O’Donnell succeeds Brother Thomas Scanlan, F.S.C., who stepped down from the position after 22 years of leadership. Scanlan, Manhattan College’s longest-tenured president, was inaugurated on Oct. 29, 1987.