Distinguished Professor Roberto Dell’Oro of LMU’s Bioethics Institute begins a three-year term as the Ann and Austin O’Malley Chair in Bioethics this semester, fall 2021.
The O’Malley Chair in Bioethics symbolizes LMU’s commitment to scholarly excellence in the evolving field of bioethics, engaging a distinctly Catholic lens in dialogue with interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. It was created by an endowment gift in 1998 from L.A. Dodgers’ former owner Peter O’Malley, his wife Annette, and Roland and Terry (O’Malley) Seidler. The significant investment from the O’Malley and Seidler families was meant to honor then-LMU President Thomas P. O’Malley (no relation) and carries the name of his parents.
To realize the vision of the gifts and animate the mission of LMU’s Bioethics Institute, the O’Malley Chair provides intellectual leadership, develops academic programming, and fosters interdisciplinary, cross-College, and cross-institutional conversations and collaboration. The O’Malley Chair also endeavors to animate LMU’s distinctive Ignatian heritage and educational mission, and our commitments to student-centered holistic formation, diversity and inclusion, and justice-oriented community engagement.
During his term, Dell’Oro will focus on research and writing, and he will continue teaching in Theological Studies as well as in LMU’s interdisciplinary master’s and undergraduate minor programs in bioethics. As Director of the Bioethics Institute, he will continue to provide visionary leadership, imagine programming in collaboration with other units in BCLA and at LMU, and work with internal and external advisory groups associated with the Bioethics Institute.
Dell’Oro came to LMU in fall 2003, joining the faculty in the Department of Theological Studies. He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, with a special interest in anthropological themes at the crossroad of theology and philosophy. He served as a Graduate Director of the newly established Bioethics Master’s Program from 2004-2006, and in 2013, he was appointed Director of the Bioethics Institute. Under his leadership, the college has graduated seven cohorts of master’s students, started an undergraduate minor in Bioethics, and hosted countless public lectures and symposia with the most distinguished national and international scholars. He co-directed the Bellarmine Forum, “Vulnerability and the Human Condition” in 2009, and was awarded BLCA’s Daum Professorship in 2015.
Over the course of his career, Dell’Oro has held prominent clinical and research appointments in national and international institutions. Currently he is Affiliate Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, chairs the International Bioethics Group (Belgium), and is a member of the scientific committee at a number of Italian Universities. Since 2015, he has been a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, where he co-chairs the working group on Global Bioethics. A preeminent scholar, Dell’Oro is also the author/co-author of four books and translator of two books. He has published over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters in five different languages and has given over a hundred academic presentations in the US and abroad. His current projects include a book on bioethics (Heterodox Bioethics: Love of life in Search of Ultimacy) and a collection of essays (tentatively titled, At the Boundary: Bioethics between Philosophy and Theology).
Upon earning this title, Dell’Oro joins impressive company. James J. Walter was the inaugural O’Mally Chair holder from 1999-2013. After a brief period of vacancy, the BCLA Dean and Bioethics Institute invited a series of extraordinary visiting O’Malley chairs who gave formal and informal lectures, taught courses, mentored our students, and engaged with our community of clinical affiliates and partner organizations.