News & Politics

A Former Georgetown University President Will Give the Invocation at Biden’s Inauguration

Meet Father Leo O'Donovan.

Father Leo O’Donovan, who served as president of Georgetown University from 1989 to 2001, is slated to deliver the invocation prayer at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

O’Donovan, a Jesuit priest, told the National Catholic Reporter last week that Biden called him to offer him the role. They are close friends, and O’Donovan presided over the funeral of Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015.

Father O’Donovan’s DC ties run deep. He attended Georgetown in the mid-1950s. Three decades later, he became the first alum to be named president there in nearly 80 years. On campus, there is a dining hall named in his honor, dubbed Leo’s.

More recently, O’Donovan has worked as Director of Mission for DC-based Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. After the 2016 election, the priest wrote a letter opposing the incoming Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling them a “specter of fear, selfishness, and lack of compassion.”