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June, 2019

I began to draft this column from a cybercafe in Miami, Florida. Along with Bob Sullivan, vice president for development, I spent the last full week of February criss-crossing the Florida peninsula, catching up with alumni, donors and potential donors. We spent three days in Miami, two days in Palm Beach, a day in Naples and two days in Tampa. We met lots of great folks as we spread the good news about CUA.
 
I have returned to CUA briefly and will soon head north to Buffalo for a meeting of Niagara University's Board of Trustees. Our own CUA Board of Trustees will meet on campus March 12-13. The big ticket items will be approval of the annual budget and the first review of tenure cases (final tenure decisions are ordinarily made at the June board meeting). We will also receive a number of progress reports concerning many new initiatives at CUA, including the renovation of Keane Hall and the construction of Opus Hall, our new student residence hall.

March 12 will be a notable day not just because the Board of Trustees will convene. Before the board meets that day, we will have a ceremonial groundbreaking for Opus Hall at 1 p.m. adjacent to Flather Hall. All members of the university community are invited to attend. We have invited as our honored guests members of the CUA Board of Trustees, the president of the Opus East Construction Group, and government and community leaders. At that ceremony the spotlight will shine most brightly on Neil Rauenhorst and his wife, Becky, who – together with the Opus Foundation – donated $3 million for the construction of this new residence hall. Neil is a member of our Board of Trustees as well as a faithful alumnus of the School of Architecture and Planning, class of 1976. Neil and Becky’s generosity is making it possible for us to break ground on construction this spring for this much-needed residence hall, which I think will have a impact on our campus not just for the way it looks and what it offers to our students, but also as a symbol of our northward reorientation of residential life at CUA. To read more about Opus Hall, see the article.

After the CUA Board of Trustees meeting, I will travel west to the capital of Colorado for a Denver Seminary Board meeting and some fundraising visits. Meanwhile, Bob Sullivan has begun to set up a series of dinners in the residences of the bishops on our board to interest or introduce potential donors to CUA. Our first such meeting — at Archbishop John Favalora's residence in Miami on Feb. 20 — was quite successful. The next dinner will be in Cardinal Justin Rigali's residence (Philadelphia) on April 13.
 

CUA alumnus Joe Plummer of Will Shakespeare Live!

It’s worthwhile on occasion for all of us to step back and take stock of all the good things that Catholic University has to offer. One of them is our cultural life. We are so lucky at CUA to have such regular opportunities for first class theatrical and musical presentations! In the first part of February I had the chance to see Will Shakespeare Live! at the Callan Theatre. It was a fun show.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch that production, another highly promising opportunity awaits. In mid-March, the President's Festival of the Arts will feature Candide by Leonard Bernstein at the Hartke Theatre. Dean Murry Sidlin and the faculty and students of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music always put together an amazing festival! For more on the President’s Festival of the Arts — it includes much more than just the production of Candide — I invite you to read the article.

Speaking of amazing, I learned recently that Judy Lindsay, assistant to the dean, will be leaving CUA's music school. It is a great loss for us, to be sure. God bless you, Judy. Our heartfelt thanks and best wishes as you take on new responsibilities!

Some students have been dedicating their spring break to service.
During these last few days of February it is quiet on campus as the students (and faculty) take advantage of spring break. Presumably, some of the students are relaxing or catching up on school work. Others are dedicating their free time to service. Twenty students are in Kingston, Jamaica, with Rev. Brad Heckathorne, O.F.M., associate campus minister, volunteering at St. Patrick’s Foundation, which includes a day-care center and home for the elderly. It is noteworthy that Campus Ministry does not need to beat the bushes for volunteers among our students. More than 70 students applied for the 20 available slots! In addition to the Jamaica contingent, two groups of students are working with CUA’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity. A group of 18 is in East St. Tammany, Lousiana, and another group of 18 is in Spokane, Washington.

After the students come back, campus will be buzzing. In addition to the events associated with the President’s Festival of the Arts, I note from the CUA Calendar of Events located on the homepage of the Web site that about two dozen events have been scheduled on campus between March 7 and the end of the month. Some of them, like the annual Catholic Daughters of the Americas Lecture, to be held Sunday, March 11, are regular affairs. I urge you to follow the online Calendar of Events or This Week @ CUA to keep track of all the happenings.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Nelson Minnich, professor of theology and religious studies, for his appointment to the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences. I like to say that CUA is one of the places where the Catholic Church does its thinking and appointments like Dr. Minnich’s certainly bear that out.

I am grateful to Dr. Julie Englund, vice president for finance and administration, treasurer, and Barbara Coughlin, director of human resources, for their presentation on CUA benefits at a recent Academic Senate meeting. Also, special thanks to Carl Petchik and the staff of facilities maintenance for their usual great job at snow and ice removal on campus.
 
Catholic University will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
How about those Cardinals?! I refer to our men’s and women’s basketball teams, both of which ended the regular season with winning records. Unfortunately, the women’s team was eliminated in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament. Nevertheless, Coach Margaret Carey and her squad represented CUA well and for that we say thanks.

The men have survived to fight another day. They won the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This is also the 10th year in a row that our men’s team has won at least 20 games, an exceptionally rare achievement. Congratulations to Coach Steve Howes and all the young men who are adding to the men’s basketball team’s legacy! CUA will be hosting rounds 1 and 2 of the NCAA Tournament at our own DuFour gymnasium on Friday and Saturday nights. Come out and cheer on our men’s team Friday night at 8 p.m.
 
As we go through the holy season of Lent, may our hearts return to thoughts of God's interactions in our lives and his call to each one of us to show love, mercy and forgiveness to all who cross our paths each day.  My thanks to and prayers for all in our CUA community. 






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