The Rev. Edward Glynn, a Jesuit priest who headed three of his order's universities as well as its Maryland Province, died of cardiac disease Saturday at the Colombiere Jesuit Community in North Roland Park. He was 80.
He belonged to the Society of Jesus for 60 years and held the office of Maryland Provincial from 1990 to 1996.
He had also served as president of St. Peter's University in Jersey City, N.J., from 1978 to 1990, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., from 1996 to 1997, and John Carroll University in Cleveland from 1998 to 2005. He also was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
A brother, John Glynn of Harrington, Del., noted: "They made him a college president when he was 38."
Born Leo Edward Glynn in Clarks Summit, Pa., he was a graduate of Scranton Prep School, where he played baseball.
He studied classical languages at the University of Scranton. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1955 and earned degrees from Fordham University in New York, the old Woodstock College in Baltimore County and Yale Divinity School.
He was ordained into the priesthood in 1967.
His brother recalled that Father Glynn "had an excellent personality and was outgoing and social."
Father Glynn received a doctorate at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., according to a biography supplied by his order. A Biblical scholar, he read Greek and Hebrew.
He taught at Georgetown University and was a contributing editor and columnist for America magazine, as well as director of the Woodstock Theological Center and acting director of the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy.
"He was known for being blunt and terse, but was never sarcastic. He just put the facts out," said the Rev. James Casciotti, a fellow Jesuit who is pastor of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Mount Vernon.
"He was plain-spoken and a mentor to those who served with him," Father Casciotti said. "He was there to support you."
In 2007, Father Glynn was named the founding president of a new Cristo Rey high school, Christ the King Preparatory School, in Newark, N.J. He then moved to the Jesuit Colombiere Center on Roland Avenue, where he was associate minister.
"I remember him as a mentor," said the Rev. Gregory C. Konz, another fellow Jesuit. "He practiced a sort of holistic approach to learning. When I came to him with an issue, he'd tell me a story and we'd go back and forth, often over a cigar and an after-dinner drink."
"He let you learn," said Father Konz, treasurer of the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C. "He was a firm believer in free will. He wanted you to learn from his experience, but he also believed you learned by making mistakes. He was a firm believer in human weakness."
He also recalled Father Glynn's ability to lead and assess a situation.
"He had a real sense of what needed to change," said Father Konz. "He would see something that needed to be done, and Ed could get it done."
"In his own way, he was a sensitive, caring man," he said. "I used to kid him that he did his best to hide his passionate, caring ways."
Last year, the Maryland Province Jesuits honored Father Glynn for his six decades in the Society of Jesus.
He followed baseball; friends said he was an avid Boston Red Sox fan.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 740 N. Calvert Street.
In addition to his brother, survivors include two other brothers, Joseph Glynn of McCall, Idaho, and Thomas Glynn of Clifton Park, N.Y.; two sisters, Mary Aulisio of Kingston, Pa., and Ann McHale of Cody, Wyo.; and nieces and nephews.