"Law & Order" Jesuit priest gets Loyola Medal

  • October 26, 2011

The Jesuit priest who helped bring us Law & Order — the TV show as opposed to the socio-political ideal — received a medal for his efforts.

On Oct. 18, Fr. Jack O’Brien was awarded the Loyola Medal at Concordia University in Montreal.

O’Brien, who is the first priest to ever do his PhD at the University of Southern California’s film school, established the Department of Communication Arts (later Communication Studies) at Concordia University in 1965. He didn’t actually produce Law & Order, direct any of its episodes, write the scripts, star in it or go anywhere near the film crews. But Law & Order’s principal writer and producer, Rene Balcer, learned how to tell a story on celluloid at Concordia when O’Brien was pushing students to think about media in new and exciting ways.

Graduates of O’Brien’s program have had impressive and diverse careers, from Colbert Report head writer Barry Julien to CBC journalist Hana Gartner.

Other winners of the prestigious Loyola Medal include the late Governor General Georges Vanier, Jesuit philosopher Fr. Bernard Lonergan, pianist Oscar Peterson, Senator and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire and astronaut Roberta Bondar.

O’Brien told The Catholic Register he was in awe of the people who had won the award and looking forward to returning to the school, which still lists him as a professor emeritus.

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