On Wednesday evening, Oct. 26, well over 100 alumni from the Philadelphia area gathered on the rooftop atrium of the city’s beautiful new Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to remember their years together at alma mater. I was delighted to be able to share with those present many of the wonderful things happening at CUA. It was a great evening.
Only a week before, Vice President for University Development Bob Sullivan and I had been in southern California, meeting with alumni, trustees and donors, bringing the same positive message to them. It would be no exaggeration to say that “from east to west” we were well received by CUA alumni and friends, all of whom were eager to hear the latest news about the university.
These two events followed on the heels of the extraordinary Homecoming Weekend 2005, which occurred Oct. 14 through 16. The annual President’s Recognition Dinner, called An Evening of Celebration, was held on Friday, Oct.14. During the dinner, in addition to recognizing the achievements of seven of our alumni who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of endeavor, I had the privilege of conferring the President’s Medal upon our alumnus, long-time colleague and friend Bob Talbot as he retires from full-time service at CUA. More than 375 alumni and benefactors attended the dinner. This event is always a lovely opportunity for me to thank them for their generosity and to encourage their continued support.
The following day witnessed some traditional as well as new events for alumni to celebrate CUA pride. Our Cardinals defeated the Explorers of La Salle University in an exciting Homecoming football game, played before full stands of cheering students and alumni. That evening several hundred alumni of our athletic programs gathered in Caldwell Auditorium to induct five of their outstanding peers into CUA’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Afterward, an old-fashioned Block Party brought the campus celebration to a close. These are only a few of the highlights of what was truly a great weekend! I am so grateful to Marion Gosney, Dani Fay and their staff in the alumni office as well as Bob Talbot, Mike Allen and the folks in the Department of Athletics for a superb celebration of the university’s heritage! I also extend my gratitude to Frank Persico and Suzanne McCarthy in my office for their great work preparing for the Evening of Celebration.
Homecoming was followed two weeks later by another excellent campus event. On Oct. 28-30 we hosted parents and siblings of our students for Family Weekend. This was one of the finest Family Weekends that I have witnessed in my years as president! We had a great turnout of approximately 300 people and they enjoyed a full program that was well organized by the Division of Student Life. I extend thanks and congratulations to Vice President Susan Pervi; Student Life directors Bill Jonas, Jon Sawyer and Mike Allen; Public Safety Director Thomasine Johnson; Associate Director Kim Timpany; Father Robert Schlageter and Jessica DePrizio from Campus Ministry; and the staffs of these offices.
Gibbons Medal recipient Darrell Green (middle) poses with Father O’Connell and former CUA Alumni Association President Ned Dwyer during the Oct. 14 Evening of Celebration.
On Nov. 3, Bob Sullivan and I will travel to New York City to continue our alumni and donor visits, following a talk I am giving there on the value of Catholic education.
I cannot underscore how important it is for the university to reach out to our alumni. They are a source of great pride to all of us and they want to be proud of CUA. Any chance you get to encourage them to participate in university life will mean a great deal to them and to us. And any time that you encounter an alumnus/a who may have lost touch with CUA for some reason, please send their name to our Office of Alumni Relations.
On Oct. 20, CUA hosted an awards banquet in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center that was sponsored by the Metropolitan Police Department and the Citizens Advisory Council for District 5. The event was attended by approximately 350 local residents, and included senior police and D.C. government officials. The purpose of the event was to recognize District 5 police and residents who have made notable contributions to the public safety and well-being of our community. Among those contributing to the successful event were the National Catholic School of Social Service and the following offices: Government and Community Relations; University Center, Student Programs and Events; Public Safety; Facilities Operations and Campus Ministry.
Speaking of crime and safety, you have all become aware in recent weeks of a rash of crimes, specifically robberies, in the neighborhood surrounding campus. I want to assure you that the university is doing everything possible to bring these incidents to the attention of local police authorities and to secure their commitment to extra vigilance and protection of our neighborhood. I have personally spoken with the Metropolitan Police Department’s chief of police several times, and also with the commanders and captains in our area. While, unfortunately, we cannot control crime off campus, all of us — especially students — need to exercise prudence and awareness as we travel around the neighborhood. I have been alarmed by the increase in nighttime robberies and, especially, by a recent daytime assault and robbery. I beg our students, until we see a reversal in this recent trend, to exercise special care at night. Do not put yourselves in a position where your judgment is impaired or where you can otherwise be an easy target for crime. We can at least protect ourselves in that way. Report any and all suspicious activity on or off campus to the Department of Public Safety as soon as you see it. Washington is such a great place to live, work and study. We all need to do whatever we can to enjoy it safely and without fear.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be in town for its annual meeting beginning Sunday, Nov. 13. We will be hosting the bishops for dinner in the Great Room of the Pryzbyla Center following their annual Mass in the Basilica on Monday evening, Nov. 14. The bishops, as you know, are the sponsors of CUA as the national university of the Catholic Church in our country.
As the month winds down, on Nov. 29, we will honor our faculty and staff employees who are celebrating their 10th and 20th years of service at CUA. Congratulations to them! We also have some new faces around campus occupying key administrative positions. Please be sure to acquaint yourself with them by reading the accompanying article in this issue of Inside CUA.
My prayerful best wishes and gratitude to all of you as we continue the semester together here at CUA!
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