A Commitment to Diplomacy and Service: Ambassador Donald McHenry

For more than 30 years, Ambassador Donald McHenry (H’81) served as Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS). In addition to the extensive expertise he has shared with his students and fellow faculty members over the years, Ambassador McHenry has dedicated his career to making a difference globally through his many leadership positions, research, fundraising and program support.


Ambassador McHenry served as Ambassador and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from September 1979 until January 1981 and as a member of President Carter’s Cabinet. Prior to this appointment, he served as Ambassador and U.S. Deputy Representative to the U.N. Security Council. He has also held a variety of positions in the U.S. Department of State as well as fellowships with the Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations.

“One good thing about teaching at Georgetown is that the university has been open, and allowed me to do things both on- and off campus,” said Ambassador McHenry in a recent interview. “I was able to go off and do work for the United Nations and still remain at Georgetown. This gave me the time to think and study, and then to bring that application from out in the world back to students. It has been very rewarding.”

In addition to dedicating his career to studying, teaching and working in the fields of foreign policy and international law and organizations, Ambassador McHenry’s passion for these fields extends to helping other young men and women on their own paths to making a difference across the globe.

In March of 2014, Georgetown announced a $4 million gift from the Coca-Cola Foundation to the School of Foreign Service’s Master’s in Global Human Development (GHD) program, including funding for an endowed chair to be named in Ambassador McHenry’s honor. Provost Robert Groves noted that endowed chairs like this one help to “provide the resources required to recruit world-class scholars to the university.”

“Students in the Global Human Development program come in looking to take a comprehensive approach to development,” said Ambassador McHenry, “Not just in economics or culture, but putting all aspects of development together to work on complex problems.”


This year, in recognition of his many invaluable contributions, the university is proud to present Ambassador McHenry with a Patrick Healy Award. The Patrick Healy Award is the highest honor that the Alumni Association gives to individuals who are not alumni. Patrick Healy awardees have distinguished themselves in their communities and through outstanding service to Georgetown.

He will receive the award at the annual John Carroll Awards Reception and Banquet, a black-tie ceremony that will take place on Saturday, April 18 at the iconic Studios at Paramount New York Street film set in Los Angeles, California.