1896 – 1954 (September 13)
Joseph Mary Dougherty, son of Villanova alumnus, James Dougherty and Mary Rountree, was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania on August 15, 1896. He received his early education at Our Mother of Good Counsel Parochial School, Bryn Mawr, and entered Saint Rita's Hall at Villanova as a postulant in 1912. On June 23, 1916, he was accepted into the novitiate there, and professed simple vows on June 24, 1917. He was solemnly professed on June 27, 1920, and was ordained to the priesthood in the Villanova Church by Bishop Michael Crane on September 22, 1923.
After ordination, Father Dougherty did advanced work for biology at Catholic University for which he received his doctorate in 1926. He taught in the pre-medical school of College for 20 years and was, for a time, Dean of the School of Biology at Villanova College. He was the author of a college textbook on bacteriology. As a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he became a recognized authority on the Mendelian Laws of Heredity.
In 1944, Father Dougherty was appointed prior of the Villanova Monastery. He was elected Provincial of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova in 1950, and again in 1953. During his terms as Provincial, Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC, was opened, and the parishes of Our Lady of the Angels in Jacksonville, Florida, and Saint Genevieve in Flourtown, Pa., became Augustinian. He was also responsible for accepting the administration of Archbishop Prendergast High School, and for launching the Province’s Mission in Japan.
Father Dougherty was 58 when he died suddenly on the afternoon of September 13, 1953 in his room at the Villanova Monastery. The previous evening he had conducted the departure ceremony for Fathers Edward Griffin, O.S.A. and James Ryan, O.S.A., new voluteers for the Japanes Mission, at the Villanova Church.
Father Dougherty is buried in the Community Cemetery. Dougherty Hall, the student union building on the campus of Villanova University, is named in his honor.