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Denis McDonough (MSFS’96) Will Be President Obama's Next Chief of Staff

Denis McDonough (MSFS'96), seated fourth from left in the Situation Room in May 2011 tracking the mission to capture Osama bin Laden, is the fourth Georgetown graduate to serve as chief of staff to a U.S. president.


Denis McDonough, a 1996 recipient of the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) degree from SFS, has been tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as his Chief of Staff.

McDonough is a member of the Georgetown MSFS Class of 1996. His undergraduate alma mater is Saint John’s University (Collegeville, Minn.).

“I am certain that Hoyas around the world join me in congratulating Denis McDonough. He has been and will continue to be an outstanding public servant,” said SFS Dean Carol Lancaster. “Pursuing such work is a Georgetown and SFS tradition of which we are extremely proud.”

McDonough has been deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration since 2010. He has also served as head of strategic communications and chief of staff at the National Security Council.

McDonough is the fourth Georgetown graduate to serve as chief of staff to a U.S. president. Outgoing Chief of Staff Jacob Lew (L'83) has served in that post since 2012. Jim Jones (L’64) was chief of staff to President Johnson from 1965 to 1969 and John Podesta (L’76) served as chief of staff to President Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

"Denis is a wonderful example of the kind of creative leader that the MSFS Program seeks to educate," said Anthony Clark Arend, Director of MSFS.

Rankings published by Foreign Policy magazine have identified Georgetown as one of the best places to study international affairs. Georgetown master’s programs in the School of Foreign Service (SFS) ranked first worldwide and its undergraduate programs ranked fifth. The university also ranked first for master’s degree programs in 2007 and 2009.

For more information, contact Beau Boughamer, 202/687-5696 or

The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), founded in 1919, is a premier school of international affairs. At Georgetown University’s Washington, D.C. and Qatar campuses, SFS provides a rigorous education combining theory and practice and instills the values of service.

SFS embodies the values and spirit of Georgetown University. A Catholic and Jesuit, student-centered research university, Georgetown educates women and men to be reflective lifelong learners, to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign ServiceICC 301, Georgetown UniversityWashington D.C. 20057Phone: (202)

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