Julius Ruff’s comments on the occasion of the retirement of Rev. John Patrick Donnelly, SJ:

Good Evening Colleagues and Friends

Jim has asked me to speak on behalf of the Department of History at this celebration of the career of our colleague, the Reverend Dr. John Patrick Donnelly of the Society of Jesus. It is indeed a pleasure to do so, for I have worked with Pat for over three decades as his colleague in the history of early modern continental Europe. It was always just the two of us in the Department specializing in the history of this vital era, and on a personal note, I will feel considerable loss as Pat moves from full- to part-time teaching.

The University was founded by the Society of Jesus and for one-hundred and thirty years much of our institutional life has been defined by outstanding Jesuit scholar-teachers. In that select group, Pat Donnelly must stand out as he now completes four decades of full-time teaching at Marquette. In fact, he epitomizes the ideal of the Jesuit scholar/teacher to his History Department colleagues because, in his career here, he has excelled in all those categories in which the academy assesses it's members.


In the area of scholarship, Father Donnelly has contributed prodigiously to his field of Reformation studies. Indeed, he is the author, editor, or translator of sixteen books in this area, including a biography of Saint Ignatius. His articles, book chapters, professional papers, and reviews are similarly numerous, and the corpus of his work has earned him international recognition in election to the presidencies of the Sixteenth-Century Studies Conference, the Society for Reformation Research, and the Peter Martyr Vermigli society. He is, I might add, a Latin scholar of formidable learning, to whom my colleagues and I have taken our most vexing difficulties with the language of Caesar and Cicero for years.

In teaching, Father Donnelly has provided signal service to the University. In addition to

instruction in his area of specialization, Father Donnelly has developed courses on the World War II era that help to sustain the History Department’s major in military history as well as courses on Church history that have significantly enriched our course offerings over the years. To my mind, however, his most significant contribution was his decade of service as director of the department’s Varsity Theater Western Civilization course. In this capacity he instructed over 1,000 undergraduates every semester, while coordinating the work of a dozen or more graduate teaching assistants. His success in this vital aspect of our instructional program was recognized by his receipt of the Lawrence G. Haggerty Award for Teaching Excellence in 1988.

In service, Father Donnelly has done it all. He has served his Department as an undergraduate academic advisor for years, did a term as assistant chair, contributed to the work of countless search committees, and has been a member of every departmental committee. Indeed, he has been an outstanding Department citizen in so many ways. I remember particularly his voluntary work, in an era before the Internet, in creating a Department library of slide images of works of art and architecture significant for the study of Western Civilization. Beyond service to the Department, Father Donnelly has served Marquette in innumerable ways; there are few standing committees in the College, the Graduate School, and the University that have not benefited from Pat’s wisdom over the years.

Finally, as a member of the Society of Jesus, he has always served in the ministry of the Church. Father Donnelly sometimes started busy campus days, punctuated with teaching responsibilities and seemingly endless committee meetings, by celebrating 6:00 or 7:00 AM Mass in a senior citizens’ facility or other venue.

His selfless work at Marquette exemplifies the words of Saint Ignatius that became the motto of the Society of Jesus: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam – “For the Greater Glory of God.”

We have been blessed to have him as our colleague.

Would you join me in honoring Father Donnelly [applause]




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