CUA Mourns Passing of 11th President Edmund Pellegrino

Edmund Pellegrino, M.D., who served as the President of The Catholic University of America from 1978 to 1982, passed away June 13 at the age of 92.

During Pellegrino’s tenure as the University’s 11th President, Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to campus in 1979 and addressed Catholic educators. He was the second layman to hold the position of University President.


“With the passing of Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, the 11th president of The Catholic University of America, we remember a distinguished scholar and educator who was lauded during his presidency for his administrative ability and his rapport with students, faculty, and staff,” said University President John Garvey. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Born June 22, 1920, Pellegrino was a graduate of St. John’s University and New York University. He published more than 600 articles and chapters and 23 books on medical science, philosophy, and ethics, and was a member of several editorial boards. His research interests included the history and philosophy of medicine, professional ethics, and the physician-patient relationship.

Pellegrino was the founding editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and the founding director of Georgetown University’s Center for Clinical Bioethics. He served as the John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics and director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics at Georgetown University.

Pellegrino also served as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics under former U.S. President George W. Bush.

He was the recipient of 52 honorary doctorates in addition to numerous other awards and honors.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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