2016 John Carroll Award Biographies

The John Carroll Award is named for Archbishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in North America and founder of Georgetown University. Established in 1951, this award is conferred upon alumni whose achievements and record of service exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown and its founder. Eligible candidates for the John Carroll Award exclude those solely with an Honorary Degree from Georgetown University. A maximum of six awards may be bestowed annually.

Martha Montag Brown (I'78, Parent'10,'14), La Cañada Flintridge, California

The Georgetown value of service to others has never been lost on Martha Montag Brown. Throughout her life and career, her dedication to supporting philanthropic endeavors has helped her build the foundations to make charitable organizations succeed. Her commitment to being a woman for others is as strong as her dedication to success as an entrepreneur, wife, and mother.

Montag Brown attended Georgetown to pursue a bachelor's degree in French, with a Spanish minor. While on campus, her greatest passion was being involved in Georgetown's community engagement efforts. She worked at St. Elizabeth's hospital, focused on adult literacy, and at the Washington, D.C. jail, where she assisted prisoners and their families with medical and other needs and acted as a French and Spanish translator. These and other community endeavors inspired her to pursue a career that would serve others. Read more...

After graduating in 1978, she began her career at United Way, before moving to Levi Strauss & Co. to work in corporate responsibility. For more than 10 years, she served in leadership positions at Levi Strauss & Co. and Levi Strauss Foundation. As executive director and director of global community affairs, she managed seven offices in the United States, Asia, Europe and Canada as part of a premier corporate philanthropy program. She also led Levi Strauss & Co.'s many charitable functions, which included spearheading development of the company's funding program to combat AIDS and the foundation's Project Change anti-racism initiative.

In 1992, she founded Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, a retained executive search practice with a unique focus on philanthropy and corporate responsibility. For nearly 25 years, she has advised some of the world's most recognized corporate and private philanthropic organizations and placed transformational leaders in some of the country's top foundations. Her dedication to helping nonprofit and charitable organizations is further exemplified in her volunteerism, where she has donated resources for pro bono searches and has chaired a number of nonprofit committees and boards.

Montag Brown uses this same leadership prowess and organizational expertise in service of several leadership roles with Georgetown. She joined the Board of Regents in 2006 and was recently named regent emeritus. She chaired the Student Affairs Committee and worked with volunteers and staff to provide invaluable guidance in the planning of the Healey Family Student Center. She is California co-chair of the For Generations to Come Campaign Executive Council. Montag Brown also put on a fantastic program as co-chair of John Carroll Weekend 2015 in L.A. and serves on the advisory committee for this year's John Carroll Weekend in Rome.

Martha's greatest joy is her family. She met her husband Michael (C'78) at Georgetown, and they have two sons, Brendan (C'10) and Matthew, and a daughter, Morgan (C'14).

Julia Farr Connolly (C'88, Parent'18), Bethesda, Maryland

A sixth generation Washingtonian, Julia Farr Connolly's strong connection to Georgetown began at a very young age. Her grandfather, Michael Keogh (L'28), attended Georgetown Law and later served on the Board of Governors. Her mother, Joyce K. Farr (G'71), worked at the Alumni House after college. Years later, Farr's children began to volunteer at the Alumni House under the direction of long-time Alumni House employee, Ruth Ketterman (H'83). Connolly and her siblings spent summers and school breaks stuffing annual fund envelopes, driving golf carts at reunion weekends, and even planting flowers on the Alumni House patio in the spring. Connolly continued to volunteer there through her undergraduate years.

At Georgetown, she double majored in French and history and spent her junior year abroad in Paris. It was there that she cemented her love of fashion. However, her passion would not be realized as a career until some years later. Read more...

After graduating in 1988, she worked for Georgetown's New York office as a regional alumni officer, organizing events and programs for 13 alumni clubs in the Northeast. She also volunteered for class events and served as a class ambassador, which she continues to do to this day.

She obtained her juris doctorate from Catholic University in 1993, and spent 17 years as a corporate securities attorney and executive, including serving as vice president and compliance officer for Sotherly Hotels. While practicing law, Connolly sold designer clothing through trunk shows as a hobby, and in 2002, she and friend Amy Boyce achieved enormous success selling The Worth Collection.

In July 2010, Connolly realized her dream of opening Julia Farr Boutique in Washington, D.C. Her unique concept of wardrobe architecture—building a wardrobe with interchangeable pieces that function as a collective unit—helped the business see immediate success and earned her numerous accolades. Her clients include women who work in the White House, the State Department, and the media.

In 2012, she launched the Julia Farr Collection in partnership with Georgetown classmate Ann Tierney Prochnow (C'88). The collection provides essential and elegant women's fashions made in the U.S., with a portion of sales donated to women's and children's charities.

From 2010-2012, Farr Connolly also served as president of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, where she worked to develop and enhance opportunities for alumnae to connect with Georgetown and with one another, and to connect all alumni around special interests and professional affiliations. She has also served on the Board of Governors and continues to give back to Georgetown because she believes "life on campus is an amazing conversation; people shouldn't have to leave that conversation just because they graduate."

Connolly has three wonderful children, Joyce K. Connolly (C'18), Cecilia Farr Connolly, and Peter Christopher Connolly Jr., and she is engaged to be married to Mr. James Byles.

The Hon. Arthur J. Gajarsa (L'67, H'12, Parnet'99,'02,'08), Holderness, New Hampshire

Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa has dedicated his life's work to promoting the Rule of Law. A native of Italy who grew up in Rome, he returns to his childhood home to receive this year's John Carroll Award honor. After immigrating to the United States, Judge Gajarsa's parents settled in Massachusetts, and he spent most of his youth in the South End of Boston.

He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 1962. He then received his master's in economics at Catholic University before attending Georgetown to study law. After completing his juris doctorate in 1967, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph J. McGarraghy of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Read more...

In 1969, the Secretary of the Interior appointed him as a Special Counsel to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior. His public career included service at the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Defense. While in private practice in Washington, D.C., Judge Gajarsa represented Native American tribal interests, for which he made several appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court. He continued his expansive representation of Native American tribal interests when he joined the firm of Joseph, Gajarsa, McDermott & Reiner P.C. in 1987, and maintained his practice of corporate, intellectual property and civil litigation.

In 1996, he was nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by President William J. Clinton (F'68, H'80). He was confirmed by the Senate in 1997, and served in this role for the next 15 years. His career in the judiciary was both exemplary and distinguished.

Now retired, he is a senior counsel at WilmerHale in Boston, Massachusetts, where he provides his expertise in the Litigation/Controversy Department and the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice.

Judge Gajarsa has received many awards for his invaluable work, including the Boston Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1958, the John F. Kennedy American Heritage Award in 1974, and the Order of Commendatore Medal by the Republic of Italy in 1995. Georgetown Law Center honored Judge Gajarsa with the Paul R. Dean award in 1999 for his leadership at the Law Center and in the legal profession. He also received the Outstanding Public Service Award in 2011 in recognition of his lifetime pursuit of the administration of justice.

In 2012, Georgetown presented him with an honorary degree for his contributions in promoting the Rule of Law nationally and internationally and for his work with the Native American community.

Judge Gajarsa's extensive legal experience and commitment to fairness also help inform his contributions as an alumni leader at Georgetown. He has served on the Board of Directors at Georgetown University and was chairman of its Audit and Law Committees. He now chairs the Board of Trustees of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Judge Gajarsa and his wife Melanie have three sons—James, Jason (M'99, G'00, M'04) and Robert (C'02, L'09)—and two daughters, Jessica (G'08) and Melissa. They also enjoy the company and entertainment of their three lovely grandchildren, Zachary, Zoe, and Francesca.

Alan B. Leahey, M.D. (C'82, M'87, Parent'10,'11,'14), Greenville, South Carolina

Dr. Alan B. Leahey's commitment to improving the health of his patients has made him a widely recognized name in his field. Likewise, his unwavering dedication to Georgetown has been a driving force for excellence in the university community.

Dr. Leahey obtained his bachelor's in economics from Georgetown in 1982 and "spent some time on the green" as a member of the university golf team. Then, he headed to the School of Medicine and completed his M.D. in 1987. His residency in ophthalmology was performed at The Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a corneal fellowship at The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Read more...

He practiced ophthalmology in Allentown, Pennsylvania, from 1992 to 2014 as a partner at Lehigh Valley Eye Center before becoming a clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine at Greenville. He also held positions as associate chief of ophthalmology at Lehigh Valley Hospital, clinical associate in ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and instructor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Currently, Dr. Leahey serves as the chief of ophthalmology at Greenville Health System. An accomplished corneal surgeon and dry eye specialist, he has been performing refractive surgery since 1996. He has published numerous articles in ophthalmology journals, been involved in clinical trials, and performed the first LASIK procedure done in the Allentown area of Pennsylvania. Dr. Leahey has been a medical director for the Northeast Pennsylvania Lions Eye Bank (Sightlife) since 1993 and continues in this position despite his move to South Carolina.

His work has garnered him several awards in the medical community, including the Northeast Pennsylvania Rainbow Award, Laser Vision Top 100 Surgeons, America's Top Ophthalmologists, and Pennsylvania Lions Eye Bank Fellow Award for Eye Banking.

Dr. Leahey's dedication to helping others extends beyond his medical practice to include his alma mater as well. Since 1988, he has been an alumni interviewer as part of the Alumni Admissions Program (AAP), getting to know prospective Hoyas and helping to ensure that the best and the brightest become a part of the Hoya family. He has also contributed to Georgetown Scholarship Program Board and the AAP Board of Advisors, and has served as co-chair of the Class of 1982 25th Reunion and as chair of the Medical Affairs Committee on the Board of Regents executive committee.

In 2012, he was presented with the William Gaston Award, which recognizes outstanding service by graduate and undergraduate alumni who have exhibited leadership across many activities such as regional clubs, class programs, and/or participation in other school activities.

The Leahey family tree has a plethora of Hoyas, including Dr. Leahey's wife Kathy (N'83), their three daughters, Kelly (SCS'10), Colleen (C'11), and Jennifer (C'14), his brother George (C'62, Parent'88,'90,'96) and nephews Brent (C'88, L'92), Brian (C'90, L'94) and Mark (C'96, L'00, MBAE'08).

Francis M. Palumbo III, M.D. (C'68, M'72, R'75), Arlington, Virginia

Dedicating himself to a life of caring for others, Dr. Francis M. Palumbo III uses his talents as a physician and teacher to have a profound impact on his many patients, students, colleagues, and the greater Georgetown community.

Dr. Palumbo learned of the value of Catholic and Jesuit teachings at an early age when he attended Fairfield College Preparatory School in Fairfield, Connecticut, where students are encouraged to use their talents in the service of others. Read more...

He continued this tradition at Georgetown University, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in biology in 1968, and continued to pursue a medical career, completing medical school in 1972 and his residency in 1975. After completing his residency, Dr. Palumbo worked as director of the Montgomery-Georgetown clinic, serving the medically indigent of Montgomery County, Maryland. He returned to Georgetown in 1977 where he taught as an associate professor of pediatrics and helped launch the department of Children and Youth Ambulatory Services. In 1983, he was appointed its director.

While at Georgetown, teaching students and residents was a high priority for Dr. Palumbo. He was recognized for his work, receiving the Pediatric Teacher of the Year Award in 1989. He remained in his position as director for a decade before before entering private practice.

Currently, Dr. Palumbo practices at Spring Valley Pediatrics in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Washingtonian named Dr. Palumbo and his fellow Spring Valley Pediatrics physicians as Top Doctors for 2010. He has also served as an advisor for the American Academy of Pediatrics, where he has appeared before Congress as an expert child advocate on the Task Force on Children and Television.

As an alumnus of the medical school, Dr. Palumbo lends his time and talent in service to the medical alumni board and as president of the Georgetown Clinical Society in 2005. He also provides his leadership talents to the Georgetown University Board of Governors. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He has received many accolades over his esteemed career, including the Alumni Association's Founders Alumni Award in 2011, as well as the Doctor of the Year from the Georgetown Clinical Society and the Preceptor Award from the Georgetown School of Medicine in 2012.

Dr. Palumbo is an avid supporter of Georgetown athletics and is quite often found cheering at a Hoya basketball game. He and his wife, Sharon Love-Palumbo, have a son, Scott, and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren Abigail and Caesey.

The Hon. Francis Rooney (C'75, L'78, Parent'13), Naples, Florida

Originally from Muskogee, Oklahoma, the Catholic and Jesuit principles that Ambassador Francis Rooney learned as a child came to inform not only his lifelong values, but the trajectory of his life and career. He first attended Georgetown Preparatory School and went on to attend Georgetown University, obtaining his undergraduate degree in English in 1975 and his juris doctorate in 1978.

After graduation, he joined his father's construction company, Manhattan Construction Group, a civil and building construction company. There he worked on major projects such as the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which, along with his involvement with the Republican party, led to his friendship with George W. Bush, then part-owner of the Texas Rangers. He would later work on the Catholic Coalition for the 2004 presidential campaign, and after President Bush's re-election, he accepted the presidential appointment as United States ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican). Read more...

From 2005 through 2008, he served as ambassador, meeting with Vatican officials in Rome to discuss important issues and provide opportunities to spread understanding and appreciation for the United States. He wrote about his experience in The Global Vatican (2013), providing an inside look at the Catholic Church, world politics, and the extraordinary relationship between the U.S. and the Holy See.

Currently, Ambassador Rooney is the CEO of both Rooney Holdings, Inc. and Manhattan Construction Group. He is also a frequent guest commentator, providing analysis on national politics, foreign affairs, and the global diplomatic influence of the Holy See. He has appeared on top national broadcasts such as CBS This Morning, Fox News, and CNN and has been cited in publications such as USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, National Catholic Register, and more.

Ambassador Rooney is dedicated to advancing higher education initiatives and serves on multiple university boards, including the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies and the Rooney Center for American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. He and wife Kathleen (F'77) founded the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Foundation and, in 2011, provided a generous leadership gift to kick off the recently completed renovation of Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, an enduring symbol of Georgetown's Catholic and Jesuit identity.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dallas and is a member of the District of Columbia and Texas Bars. In addition, he holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100 Ton Masters license (sailing endorsement).

Ambassador and Mrs. Rooney have a daughter Kathleen (MBA'13) and two sons, Michael and Laurence Francis IV, as well as two lovely grandchildren.