Georgetown’s Jesuit community will receive a new a leader on July 31, when Rev. Joseph Lingan, S.J., assumes the position of rector — a position held by Fr. John Langan, S.J., for the past five years.

Lingan, the acting president of Gonzaga College High School, a Jesuit school located in D.C., has previously served as novice master for the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus and as rector of St. Michael’s Institute. Lingan was appointed to the Georgetown rector position by the Vatican’s provincial superior; new rectors are appointed every five or six years.

“While I have never previously been missioned to Georgetown, I have always been aware of its prominence among Jesuit universities,” Lingan said in an email. “I am humbled to be asked to serve at Georgetown and look forward to becoming an active member of the university community.”

Langan said that he was pleased by the appointment and does not believe that Lingan’s previous lack of exposure to Georgetown will detract from his work. Langan’s two predecessors were also selected from outside of the Georgetown community.

“I don’t think there will be a dramatic departure from the current role of the rector. I have positive impressions of [Lingan],” he said. “He won’t have major external commitments, which I have had. There are different ways of doing this job. The job is bigger than the skill set most individuals bring into it.”

Langan explained that the rector is an advocate for individual Jesuits and the community as a whole, and daily tasks range from handling finances to individual conversations with other Jesuits.

Langan said that he has had multiple conversations with Lingan via phone, as the latter prepares to transition into his new role. He added that he plans to meet with Lingan to answer any questions his successor may have and introduce him to administrators and other Jesuits at Georgetown.

Lingan said that while he has not yet had a chance to visit Georgetown due to his commitments at Gonzaga, where he is interim president until June, he looks forward to familiarizing himself with the Georgetown community.

“I acknowledge I have a good deal to learn and I look forward to that,” Lingan said in an email. “Since the announcement about my coming to Georgetown was made, I have received several phone calls, emails and notes of congratulations and welcome, which has been wonderful and heartening.”

He added that Langan was among the first to congratulate him on his new role. Langan said that he received a letter from the Vatican in January specifying who his successor

would be.

Langan plans to continue to be an active member of the Georgetown community. He currently serves as Cardinal Bernardin Chair in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and teaches one course. He will spend the next year in Oxford, England, writing a new book on just war theory, but plans to return in fall 2012 to resume teaching.

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