Dean and University Professor
About Rev. O’Brien
Kevin O’Brien, S.J., began serving as Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology in August of 2016.
He joined Santa Clara University after serving eight years at Georgetown University, first as Executive Director of Campus Ministry and then as Vice President for Mission and Ministry. In these roles, he promoted the Catholic and Jesuit tradition of education and spirituality with faculty, students, staff, parents, and alumni through seminars, presentations, social justice immersion programs, and retreats. Father O'Brien also supervised robust inter-faith campus ministry programs on four campuses and a dynamic Mission and Pastoral Care program at MedStar Georgetown Hospital. With a team of dedicated colleagues, he completed a major renovation of the University’s main chapel and the construction of Georgetown’s retreat center near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Fr. O’Brien lectured in Georgetown's Department of Theology, in the area of ecclesiology. In 2016, students awarded him the Dorothy Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a published scholar in the area of Jesuit history and spirituality and Jesuit higher education. In 2011, Loyola Press published his award-winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life.
Fr. O’Brien graduated from Georgetown in 1988 with a degree in government. He then returned to his native state of Florida to attend law school at the University of Florida, where he served as an editor on the Florida Law Review. After practicing corporate litigation for two years, Fr. O’Brien taught social studies at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Fr. O’Brien joined the Society of Jesus in 1996. In the course of his ten-year formation as a Jesuit, Fr. O’Brien earned a Master's degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology at Boston College. Fr. O'Brien's thesis, a theological reflection on the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service, was published in Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits (Winter 2005). Fr. O'Brien has taught philosophy and ethics at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia and business law at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.
Among his pastoral work, Fr. O’Brien has worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Los Angeles and on the Arizona-Mexico border and served in India, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala. Fr. O’Brien was ordained to the priesthood in 2006, and immediately after ordination, worked for two years as associate pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, D.C.
Fr. O'Brien completed his service on the Board of Trustees at Marquette University in 2017 and is presently on the Board of Seattle University. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Saint Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco.