Patrick Francis Healy was born in Macon, Georgia back in 1834 to Michael and Mary. At an early age the family moved to New York where he received his education at a Quaker school in Flushing, New York. In 1844, he enrolled at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1850, entering the Jesuit order continuing his studies.
He left the United States to attend the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium earing his doctorate. While he was there he was ordained into the priesthood on September 3, 1864. In 1866, he returned to the United States teaching philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 1874, he was selected as the school’s twenty-sixth president. He is given credit as to the transformation of Georgetown from a small nineteenth-century college into a major university. He modernized the curriculum expanding and upgrading the schools of law and medicine while requiring courses in chemistry and physics. He died in 1910, he was 75.
What you may not know about Patrick is that he is recognized as the first U.S. citizen of African descent to earn a PhD, to be admitted to the Jesuit order and to be president of any predominantly white college in the United States.
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