History of the Office
Founded in 1789, the same year the U.S. Constitution took effect, Georgetown is the nation's oldest Catholic university. What began as Georgetown College, a small gathering of 12 students and a handful of professors, has grown into a major international university that includes four undergraduate schools, respected graduate programs, a law school and a medical school.
The position of the Provost, as it is known today, was first proposed in a Management Survey of the University in 1951. In 1955, Rev. Brian A. McGrath, S.J., became the first "Academic Vice President for Georgetown University." That position, as defined by the 1957-58 Faculty Handbook, reported directly to the President and had five main responsibilities. Those responsibilities included: coordinating academic programs in all of the schools; supervising and arranging all Academic Convocations, Commencements, and general faculty meetings; the administration of University policy relative to faculty personnel; supervision and direction of admissions, registrations, record procedures, athletics, and libraries; the distribution of scholarships. The Academic Vice President was also given full authority to act for the President, in his absence, in the conduct of the ordinary business of the University.
The jurisdiction of this Academic Vice President extended to the then six main campus schools: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Foreign Service, School of Language and Linguistics, School of Business Administration, Graduate School, and School for Summer and Continuing Education. Jurisdiction also included the Medical School until a separate Academic Vice President for the Medical School was named in 1964, and the Law School until 1974.
Though the name of the position has changed over the years, the duties have remained fairly consistent. The Provost today serves as the chief academic and administrative officer for Georgetown's main campus. In 1999, Dorothy M. Brown was named as the first female and non-Jesuit to the position, and the first to take on the current title of Executive Vice President and Provost. James J. O'Donnell served as Provost from July 1, 2002 until August 12, 2012.
Robert M. Groves assumed the office of Provost on August 13, 2012.