James Joseph O'Donnell is the Provost of Georgetown University. He is a classical scholar, who has also served as Vice Provost for Information Systems and Computing at the University of Pennsylvania, writing and lecturing about information technology in the modern academic and cultural world. His books include more technical scholarly works on history and philosophy, with a special interest in Augustine of Hippo, but he has also three books that are addressed to a general audience. Avatars of the Word (Harvard University Press: 1998) outlines the history of writing and media from ancient Greek times to the present, while Augustine: A New Biography (Harper Collins 2005) was widely reviewed (e.g., New Republic, Economist, New York Times). An account of the end of Roman grandeur, The Ruin of the Roman Empire (HarperCollins: 2008), has now appeared.
O'Donnell was an early academic adopter of the WWW. Unusual sections of his website include the Doughbelly Price home page, about a cowboy turned real estate agent in Taos, NM, fifty years ago, featuring audio clips of old cowboy songs by Price.
O'Donnell is former President of the American Philological Association and a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. He studied at Princeton University (BA 1972) and completed his Ph.D. at Yale University in three years.