Brother Patrick Ellis, college president

Brother Patrick Ellis, a member of the Christian Brothers who served as president of La Salle University and Catholic University of America, died Feb. 21 of leukemia at a Christian Brothers nursing home in Lincroft, N.J.

The Baltimore native was 84.

Born and raised Harry James Ellis Jr. in Baltimore, he was a graduate of Calvert Hall College High School.

When he was 17, he worked in the library of The Baltimore Sun as a research clerk and won praise from H.L. Mencken, who was writing an obituary for the American novelist Theodore Dreiser in 1945.

He was 17 when he entered the Institute of the Christian Brothers and took the religious name of Brother Felician Patrick.

Brother Patrick was a 1951 graduate of Catholic University of America. He worked as a guidance counselor at West Philadelphia Catholic High School and later became chair of its English department.

He earned a master's degree and doctorate in English from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1960, he joined the English department faculty at La Salle University in Philadelphia, and two years later became principal of La Salle-Immaculate High School in Miami.

Brother Patrick returned to La Salle University in 1964. He established its honors program and served as its director.

He was president of La Salle from 1977 to 1992, when he was appointed president of Catholic University of America. He stepped down in 1998.

Brother Patrick lived at Calvert Hall College High School while serving as director of development for the Baltimore District of the Christian Brothers from 1999 to 2004, when he retired.

He continued living at Calvert Hall until 2009 when he retired to De La Salle Hall, a Christian Brothers retirement home in Lincroft.

A prayer service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at La Salle Hall, 6001 Ammendale Road, Beltsville.

He is survived by a sister, Susan Kane of Washington; and several nieces and nephews.

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