James J. O'Donnell has been Provost of Georgetown University since 2002. Distinguished scholar and recognized educational innovator, he has been recognized by his peers with election to the presidency of the American Philological Association and has been a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America since 2003.
O'Donnell's scholarly work ranges widely in the cultural history of Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East in the later Roman and early medieval periods. He is the author of seven books, including a three-volume edition of Augustine's Confessions, and a 2005 biography of Augustine. His latest book, The Ruin of the Roman Empire, was published by HarperCollins in 2008. In 1990, O'Donnell co-founded the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, the second on-line scholarly journal ever created in the humanities.
He is Secretary of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and chairs the Board of Directors of ResearchChannel; he also served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the National Humanities Center. In 2000, he chaired a National Academy of Science expert study group reviewing the role of information technology in the services and strategies of the Library of Congress; this report was published as LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress.
O'Donnell was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for twenty-one years, serving as Professor of Classical Studies, Vice Provost for Information Services and Computing, and Faculty Master of Hill College House. Prior to his positions at the University of Pennsylvania, O'Donnell taught at Bryn Mawr College, The Catholic University of America, and Cornell University. He has also held visiting appointments at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, and Yale University. He earned a bachelor's degree Phi Beta Kappa and was elected Latin Salutatorian at Princeton University in 1972. He earned his doctorate from Yale University in 1975.