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November 5, 2004

We begin the month of November at CUA mindful of saints and souls. The longer one serves at the university, in whatever position, the more one grows in an appreciation of the saintliness of those who have gone before us, contributing so much to this university’s greatness. As I celebrated the Mass for All Saints’ Day, I expressed gratitude for those people. As I celebrated the Mass for All Souls’ Day, I prayed for all the former members of the university community, including their families and dear ones, who have passed away. Please join me in prayer for them throughout this month dedicated to “all souls.”

We all mourned the passing of His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey, S.T.L. 1946, former archbishop of Washington and CUA trustee and chancellor. His 20 years as archbishop and chancellor left an enduring mark upon the history and progress of CUA.  He had a special love and devotion for the university’s seminary, Theological College, which he had himself attended. His Oct. 30 funeral Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was a marvelous display of affection for this great man of the Church and loyal son of Catholic University.

On Oct. 4, the undergraduate students of the School of Theology and Religious Studies invited me to offer Mass in Caldwell Chapel in remembrance of Monsignor Stephen Happel, who died on that day one year ago while serving as dean of the school.  Many faculty members from the school also participated, along with other friends of Stephen. I had spoken to his mother earlier in the day and she continues to express gratitude for our care for her and her family during the days following Stephen’s death.  On Oct. 14, Stephen’s successor as dean, Father Frank Moloney, dedicated a new Caldwell Hall lecture room in Monsignor Happel’s honor, in the presence of numerous faculty and staff members, students and administrators.

On hand for the Eugene I. Kane Student Health and Fitness Center dedication are Father O'Connell; Kane's wife, Jean Ann Kane; and Kane's brother, Monsignor Thomas Kane.

On Oct. 8, Dean William Fox, Professor Sandy Ogilvy and the faculty of the Columbus School of Law joined me in presenting the President’s Medal to William Pincus, founder of clinical legal education in our country. It was a wonderful event.

On Oct. 15, I dedicated the new Eugene I. Kane Student Health and Fitness Center as the first event of our annual Family Weekend. Gene Kane, benefactor and former trustee, contributed $250,000 from his foundation, earmarked for any student-oriented purpose. Shortly after informing me of his gift, Gene passed away. His wife, Jean Ann, and his family were on hand for the dedication. The activities of the Kane Center are coordinated by its director, Marie Kennedy, the newest staff member in the Division of Student Life.

On Oct. 18, CUA welcomed its new controller and assistant treasurer, Sheri Hardison, to the ranks of administrative staff in the Office of Finance. Sheri comes from PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she had worked since 1996. She began there as an associate and worked her way up to senior associate, manager and senior manager. As senior manager, she managed audit engagements for multiple client teams in the not-for-profit area and colleges and universities. We are delighted to have her with us as she replaces Angie Maske.

Robert Prince, CEO and President of Duratek Inc., receives his honorary degree as Father O'Connell and Provost John Convey show their appreciation.
On Oct. 19, the university welcomed to campus the board of directors of Duratek Inc., a company that has partnered with our faculty and other researchers in the Vitreous State Laboratory in Duratek’s mission to protect our environment from nuclear waste.  Professors Pete Macedo, Ted Litovitz, Charles Montrose and Ian Pegg were on hand along with Dean Larry Poos and the President’s Council as I conferred an honorary degree upon Duratek President and CEO Robert Prince at a special dinner that evening.  This partnership, spearheaded by professors Macedo and Litovitz many years ago, has become a model for business/university joint ventures.

On Oct. 22, I met with the representatives of the Columbus School of Law Dean Search Committee to begin that important search.

On Oct. 26, Vice President for Development Bob Sullivan and I headed to New York City for several days of meetings with donors and alumni. During those days, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Julie Englund, Associate Vice President and Director of Budget Michelene Sheehy and I conducted meetings with CUA’s Investment Committee and representatives from Standard and Poors and Moody’s in New York.     

Celebrating Metropolitan College's 25th anniversary: (From left) Father O'Connell, trustee emeritus Vincent Sheehy, U.S. Secretary of Education Roderick Paige, Dean Sara Thompson, Provost John Convey.
Upon my return to Washington on Oct. 28, the university celebrated the 25th anniversary of Metropolitan College. Dean Sara Thompson, her staff and students in Metropolitan College joined me as I conferred an honorary degree on longtime benefactor and trustee emeritus Vincent Sheehy. U.S. Secretary of Education Roderick Paige gave the address at the convocation held in the Pryzbyla Center.

The month of November promises to be equally busy. The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees held its quarterly meeting on campus on Nov. 2. The following day Vatican Librarian and Archivist Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran presented the annual Cardinal Dearden Lecture of the School of Theology and Religious Studies in Hannan Hall’s Herzfeld Auditorium. 

Homecoming Weekend begins on Nov. 12 in the Pryzbyla Center with An Evening of Celebration at which time we give thanks to our generous benefactors and present several of our distinguished alumni with achievement awards. On Monday, Nov. 15, CUA will host the bishops of the United States, sponsors of the university, for dinner in the Pryzbyla Center following the annual United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Mass at 6 p.m. at the Basilica. On Tuesday, Nov. 16, I will host alumni benefactors of the School of Architecture and Planning as well as numerous influential local architects for a reception in honor of Dean Randall Ott at the University Club downtown. The month will end on Nov. 30, with CUA’s annual 10- and 20-Year Service Awards Dinner in the Pryzbyla Center.

There are many other wonderful lectures and events scattered throughout the month. Please consult the CUA Web site, “This Week at CUA” and the newly created university calendar, which can be found under “Calendar” on the home page ( for all the details.

The university Web site and the electronically produced and transmitted “This Week” remind me of all the technology we enjoy on our campus and how it has revolutionized our communication at the university. We are blessed to live in a “wired” age and to work at a place that is so well “connected.” That’s not an idle boast. As those of you who follow CUA’s Web site know, CUA recently was named the eighth most wired university in the nation in a report by Congratulations to Chief Information Officer Zia Mafaher and all the staff at the Center for Planning and Information Technology for this remarkable achievement.

Hard as it is to believe, my next column will be the “Christmas” edition, bringing the fall semester to a close. Don’t forget to note Friday, Dec. 3, in your holiday calendar for the annual 5:15 p.m. Christmas tree lighting (once we find a tree to plant in front of McMahon!) and the 7:30 p.m. Christmas Concert in the Basilica. What a great way to begin the season.  

With all the activities scheduled for CUA, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the event organizers among the faculty and staff as well as the folks from facilities and maintenance who do all the “hidden” work of setting up for the events. What a wonderful university community we have! As Thanksgiving comes, I am gratefully mindful of each and every one of you who make CUA the extraordinary place it is.  Thanks for all you do for the university! God bless you all.

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