Announcement Regarding Dean Christopher Celenza

October 22, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

It is with deep gratitude for his leadership and service to our community that I write to share with you that Christopher S. Celenza, Ph.D., Dr.phil., Dean of Georgetown College and Professor of History and Classics, has been named the next James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, effective January 4, 2021.

Dean Celenza joined our community as Dean of Georgetown College in July 2017, following his service as the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and as a faculty member in the Department of Classics and the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University. For the past three years, he has provided invaluable leadership to our largest undergraduate school–which has 26 departments and 12 interdisciplinary programs. He led the expansion of opportunities for undergraduate research, supported new activities in the humanities, and encouraged a focus on diversifying our faculty and staff, all with a commitment to greater transparency within the College.

Under his leadership, the College launched the Royden B. Davis Fellowships, which provide undergraduates with a summer stipend to pursue research or experiential learning opportunities, and the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, which fosters collaborative projects across departments and schools that highlight humanistic scholarly pursuits and their importance to the public.

He has helped to develop new mentorship opportunities and programs for students to engage with alumni. In Fall 2018, the College Dean’s Office launched the Sophomore Success Series, which connects recent College alumni with current second-year students, and later that Spring, they also launched the Social Responsibility Network, a mentorship program for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing service-based careers.

In addition to his leadership of the College, he has also taught first-year students in his Ignatius Seminar, “Thinking Through Writing,” and served on a number of Georgetown committees as well as national academic societies. He has also continued to make important contributions to scholarship. His recent books include The Intellectual World of the Italian Renaissance: Language, Philosophy, and the Search for Meaning (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018); and Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer (London: Reaktion, 2017).

I remain deeply grateful to Dean Celenza for all that he has done for our University. In the time ahead, I will work closely with Provost Groves to identify interim leadership and establish a search committee to conduct a national search for Dean Celenza’s successor.

Please join me in expressing our gratitude to Dean Celenza for his dedicated efforts on behalf of our Georgetown community and offering our warmest congratulations as he prepares to return to Johns Hopkins University in this new role.


John J. DeGioia