Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., ’48, who served as President of Regis for the 2004-05 academic year, passed away on Sunday, March 29 after a long illness. He was 89.
Fr. O’Hare entered the Society of Jesus on July 30, 1948, shortly after his graduation from Regis. He was ordained on June 17, 1961 at Fordham University and pronounced his final vows on August 15, 1965 at Fordham.
Fr. O’Hare’s exemplary life of service to the Church included his 19-year tenure as President of Fordham University, which announced his passing on Monday. The recipient of 10 honorary degrees and many distinguished awards, Fr. O’Hare also was the Editor in Chief of America Magazine for nine years.
In 2004, after Rev. Thomas McClain, S.J., concluded his eight-year stint as president, the Regis Board of Trustees tapped Rev. Philip G. Judge, S.J., ’80 as the school’s next long-term president. With Fr. Judge unavailable to begin until the summer of 2005, Fr. O’Hare, who had retired from Fordham University in 2003, generously agreed to return to Regis to serve a one-year term as President. In recognition of his service to Regis, Fr. O’Hare received the Deo et Patriae Award in 2005.
“Fr. O’Hare indeed had a noble heart,” Regis President Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, S.J., said. “After 19 years of leading Fordham University, when his alma mater needed him to serve as president, he gladly accepted the task. He was gracious, charming, a true leader, and a Regian to his core.”
In 1989, Fr. O’Hare spoke at the dinner Regis held to celebrate its 75th anniversary. “The call to be great hearted, to have the noble heart and to dare the hero's part, is very much the spirit of Regis High School, an idea and an institution born out of vision and generosity,” he said. “Tonight we count not only the years but also the blessings, we forgive and ask to be forgiven, we share a measure of pride and we give thanks together. Let us also renew together the hope that future generations will be able, as we were, to find in Regis High School the call to be great hearted men who wish to do and be more.”
Because of the public health recommendations surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the Funeral Mass for Fr. O’Hare will be private. Fordham University plans to hold a Memorial Mass at a future date.
On Monday, America Magazine published an extensive and excellent remembrance of Fr. O’Hare, which you can read here.