2017 Patrick Healy Award Biography

The Patrick Healy, S.J. Award is named for Rev. Patrick F. Healy, S.J., the 29th president of Georgetown University (1874-1882). Established in 1969, this award is conferred upon an individual who is not an alumnus/a, but whose achievements and record of service to Georgetown, community and professional achievements, exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown. Eligible candidates for the Patrick Healy Award include recipients of an Honorary Degree from Georgetown University. A maximum number of one Patrick Healy Award is conferred annually.

Dean Chester Gillis (Parent'08), Washington, D.C.

With selfless commitment to students, faculty, and the entire Georgetown community, Dean Chester "Chet" Gillis has served the university for more than a quarter century, providing leadership and care in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition.

Dean Gillis first joined the university as an assistant professor of theology in 1988, beginning many years of dedicated faculty service. He was a member of the core faculty of the liberal studies program from 1998 to 2008, during which time he received the Excellence in Teaching Award. He chaired the department of theology from 2001 to 2006 and directed the Doctorate of Liberal Studies program from 2006 to 2008. He also served on the editorial board of Confluence: Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies and on the board of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

He was the initial holder of the Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies and founding director of the Church and Interreligious Dialogue program at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. During the 2008-2009 academic year, Dean Chester Gillis served as interim dean of Georgetown College during 2008–09 and was appointed dean in April 2009.

With a focus on "care for the whole person," he hosts students at his home for monthly Dinner with the Dean. He considers getting to know them and learning how to improve their Georgetown experience to be one of his favorite aspects of being dean. "If you're here to serve students, you have to know who they are," he said.

Dean Gillis's extensive research on comparative religion and contemporary Roman Catholicism demonstrates his dedication to upholding the university's Catholic and Jesuit tradition. He is the author of Catholic Faith in America (2003), Roman Catholicism in America (2000), and Pluralism: A New Paradigm for Theology (1993), and A Question of Final Belief (1989). He is also editor of The Political Papacy (2006) and co-editor of the Columbia University Press series "Religion and Politics." Frequently consulted by the media on contemporary issues in religion, Dean Gillis is an expert on Roman Catholicism and the Papacy.

Dean Gillis holds degrees in philosophy and religious studies from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

He and his wife, Dr. Marie Varley Gillis, have four children, Tony, Michael, Joe, and Alison (C'08, L'12).