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November, 2017

I just returned from a meeting in Denver, which provided me with an opportunity to visit some alumni and a donor to the university. It is always wonderful to hear how much people enjoyed their time at CUA. As I flew back into Reagan National Airport, the colors on the trees below were breathtaking. The autumn colors are so beautiful this time of year. 

The month began with the Red Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Dean Veryl Miles and several of the law school faculty and members of the student body were in attendance, along with Monsignor Brian Ferme, dean of the canon law school; Monsignor Robert Trisco, and me. Archbishop Wuerl, our chancellor, gave a magnificent homily in the presence of representatives from all three branches of the federal government and numerous local officials. The John Carroll Society plays host to this wonderful annual event.

That same Sunday morning, the first day of October, The Washington Post ran an article on the front page of their Metro section about our university chaplain and director of campus ministry, Franciscan Father Bob Schlageter, and the room blessings tradition he and the other friars began at CUA several years ago. It was wonderful to read such an uplifting story and, more important, an article that accurately captured one of the things that makes CUA special — our campus life of faith! Father Bob has become quite a celebrity and may need to begin wearing dark sun glasses when he travels to preserve his anonymity. The article has been popping up in newspapers all around the United States and was even reprinted in the Japan Times!

Theological College, our university seminary, welcomed back great numbers of TC alumni for its annual Alumni Days celebration later that same week. Father Tom Hurst, S.S., rector of TC, along with the Sulpician formation faculty and the seminarians, did a great job sharing the good news of our wonderful seminary with their “predecessors!” Archbishop Wuerl celebrated the Mass and dedicated the newly renovated Blessed Sacrament Chapel at TC. I hope that some of you will have the occasion to visit the seminary during the course of the year.

Father O’Connell with two Class of 2003 alumnae at Homecoming. From left: Associate Director of Annual Giving Katherine Acuff and Sally Oram.

Homecoming and alumni reunions weekend occurred Oct. 13-15 on campus. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend part of every single event this year. At a dinner in the Pryz on Friday evening, we honored six alumni with achievement awards. It was inspiring as always to witness how CUA’s education has influenced our alums and what they have achieved as a result. CUA Board of Trustees member and WUSA 9’s TV news anchor Andrea Roane served as host and gave the evening an added “touch of class.”  There was a great turnout throughout the weekend, with more than 500 alums and their family members participating. The School of Library and Information Science celebrated its 25th year with an afternoon tea on Saturday honoring one of its most beloved faculty members, Dr. Mathilde Rovelstad. The Reunions Dinner on Saturday also was a wonderful occasion, celebrating classes that graduated 10 years ago and every five years before that, up to and including the 50th year (1956) class! If you go to Photo Gallery on the CUA home page at www.cua.edu, you can see a “snapshot” of the entire weekend. My congratulations and thanks to Marion Gosney, director of alumni relations, and all her staff for their hard work in making this weekend such a success.

Speaking of the CUA home page, you may have noticed a new feature there, highlighting media interviews with our incredible faculty. I’ve noticed a number of them quoted in The New York Times recently, for example. It is so important for our faculty to share their expertise, because it makes CUA more visible to the general public. That positive visibility brings us dividends. I know that giving interviews is a sacrifice of precious time and I’m grateful to the faculty for doing this. I strongly encourage others to follow their example.

With input from a search screening committee composed of the President’s Council and two academic deans, I have identified four very strong candidates for the provost’s position from among the more than 30 applications received. I have appointed a search interview committee from the university’s faculties and staff, and CUA will welcome these candidates to campus in January for two-day interview visits. If they possess only half the dedication and commitment that Dr. John Convey has demonstrated for the past 10 years, we will be well served.

Congratulations to Dr. Ken Pennington for the festschrift recently published in his honor. If you haven’t read about this recognition yet, I commend the brief article located at http://publicaffairs.cua.edu/news/07PenningtonFestschrift.htm.

       The Stuart-Hobson Middle School library was redesigned by CUAdc, the 
       architecture and planning school's design collaborative.

Congratulations also to the School of Architecture and Planning for the 2006 Pro Bono Publico award the school received for redesigning the library of Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Northeast Washington, D.C. These types of selfless activities go a long way in promoting good relationships with the Washington community.

The beginning and the end of November bring with them important events. At the beginning of the month are the feast of All Saints Day — a holy day of obligation — and the commemoration of All Souls Day. The Mass schedule is published in This Week @ CUA. Please know that I keep all of our beloved CUA departed in my prayers and Masses throughout this month dedicated to the holy souls.

Toward the end of the month we will celebrate the all-important family holiday of Thanksgiving. When we come back to campus from turkey day, we’ll be having our traditional dinner to honor those with 10, 20 and more years of service to CUA on Nov. 28.

And it’s not too early for me to mention another of our great traditions, which will occur on Friday, Dec. 1. That’s the annual Christmas Concert for Charity co-sponsored by the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This year the beneficiary will be the Spanish Catholic Center here in Washington. I hope you’ll mark your calendars and will plan to attend this worthwhile event.

Please enjoy this great time of the year. Before you know it, we’ll all be getting out our hats and gloves. Thanks to all in the university community for every thing you do to keep us going strong. God bless!


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Last Revised 30-Oct-06 04:21 PM.