Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.

About St. John's 18th President 

Fr. Shanley

Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., is the 18th President of St. John’s University.

A native of Warwick, RI, Fr. Shanley holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. After completing undergraduate studies in history at Providence College in 1980, he earned a licentiate degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America. He also holds a Master of Divinity and a licentiate degree in Sacred Theology from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.

Ordained a member of the Dominican Order of Preachers in 1987, Fr. Shanley taught philosophy at Providence College and was a visiting professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He served as a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America from 1994 to 2005.

Fr. Shanley was the 12th and longest-serving president in the history of Providence College. Elected in 2005, he served three consecutive five-year terms and concluded his service as President on June 30, 2020.

During Fr. Shanley’s tenure at Providence College, he was widely credited with making substantial improvements to campus facilities and student services, hiring large numbers of new faculty, diversifying the student body, and strengthening the college’s national profile in academics and athletics.

In November of 2020, the St. John’s University Board of Trustees announced the unanimous election of Fr. Shanley as the University’s 18th President, and he began his tenure on February 1, 2021, at the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

At St. John’s, Fr. Shanley navigated the University through the return to pre-COVID-19 business operations. He formed a Strategic Planning Committee that created a five-year (2022–27) Strategic Plan to help shape a bright future for the University. This plan, which serves as a University roadmap, has clear objectives and measurable goals that prioritize the activities and identify the resources needed to best support St. John’s mission and vision going forward.

Fr. Shanley has served as Associate Editor and Editor of The Thomistand as a member of the editorial board for the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. He has also served on the executive committee of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. Widely published in philosophy-focused academic journals, his research interests include Thomas Aquinas, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, medieval philosophy, and ethics.

At St. John’s, Fr. Shanley teaches a philosophy course in ethics for honor students. He is the author of two books and edited another:

  • Editor and author of the Introduction in One Hundred Years of Philosophy. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001.
  • The Thomist Tradition. Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 2. Dordrecht, Holland: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.
  • The Treatise on the Divine Nature: Summa Theologiae I 1–13. Translation and Commentary. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2006.

Fr. Shanley is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and a member of the BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors.

Fr. Shanley is a self-described opera aficionado and a sports enthusiast who enjoys golf and incorporates assorted Chinese martial arts into his daily routine.