John E. O'Brien
Founder of Concordia’s renowned Communication Studies department and a Jesuit priest, the distinguished Professor Emeritus Fr. John (Jack) E. O’Brien, S.J., has been selected to receive the 2011 Loyola Medal, one of the highest honours awarded by Concordia University.
O’Brien is an accomplished teacher, author, speaker and administrator. After graduation from Loyola College in 1945, he joined the Society of Jesus, where he was ordained in 1957, and earned a doctorate in Communication from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1964. He returned to his alma mater, where he founded Canada’s first department of Communication Studies in 1965, then known as Communication Arts at Loyola College.
O’Brien’s pioneering vision and passion for the study and application of media, combined with his training as a Jesuit priest, led him down an unusual career path for a clergyman who had taken a vow of poverty.
While a student at USC, O’Brien was elected president of Alpha Epsilon Rho, known today as the National Broadcasting Society, an American association for broadcast and media students. For Montreal’s Expo 67 world fair, he chaired the Christian Pavilion programming committee. In 1983, his communications expertise took him to Rome where, as Secretary for Social Communication to the Father General of the Jesuits, he helped to reshape the training of young Jesuits worldwide.