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April, 2019


Father O'Connell

On Sept. 13, The Catholic University of America lost one of its most pre-eminent sociologists and colleagues, Dean R. Hoge, Ph.D., professor emeritus and director emeritus of the Life Cycle Institute. He devoted more than three decades of his life to CUA. May he rest in peace.

I thought I would simply itemize the news I intended to report to you. So, here goes:

  1. Board Retreat. The annual CUA Board of Trustees retreat took place here in Washington on Monday, Sept. 29, and Tuesday, Sept. 30. The topic was “Board Assessment and Performance.”
  2. Enrollment. The numbers continue to look strong for fall enrollment. During the first week of October we will ascertain our official enrollment for the 2008-2009 academic year. I’ll share the results in the next issue of Inside CUA.
  3. Finances/Budget. The university received a clean audit with no serious areas of concern noted by the auditors. CUA realized a $2.8 million operating surplus for fiscal year 2008. That number was offset by a nonoperating loss of $733,000 (a decline in our endowment value due to the effect of market volatility on our investments), leaving us with a net increase of $2.1 million. We need to treat this surplus carefully as we look to the future and our ability to borrow. In mid-September, I initiated FY 2010 budget preparations.
  4. Strategic Plan. Within a week, every full-time faculty and staff member at CUA will be receiving a booklet containing the university’s strategic plan. I ask that you find five or 10 minutes to read the plan so that you will fully understand the direction in which CUA is going. Keep the booklet at your desk and refer to it on occasion. For the plan to be optimally successful, it is important that all CUA employees embrace it and incorporate it in their daily activities. To follow are some examples of how we are implementing the plan. The Center for Academic Success — a retention initiative — is up and running, with an office created in the Pryzbyla Center. An academic/student-life collaborative initiative on first-year students is simultaneously in place. The new graduate programs in the School of Architecture and Planning and Metropolitan College welcomed their first students in late August. Much attention has been paid to university infrastructure and landscaping. And human resource management is benefiting from the appointment earlier this year of a new director, Christine Peterson, who is incredibly organized and efficient and very familiar with successful HR programs.
  5. South Campus. Jim Abdo, the president of Abdo Development, spoke at a town hall meeting with the university community on Monday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. in the Pryzbyla Center. He explained in detail plans for the South Campus development.  More than 200 members of the university community attended and by all accounts his presentation was very well received. (To read more about the town hall meeting, click here.)
  6. Freshman Retreat. Campus ministry led more than 200 freshman students on retreat at Melwood on Sept. 12-14.
  7. CUA Cardinal Athletics. A number of our fall teams have gotten off to great starts. For example, our football team has three victories and only one loss. Men’s soccer is off to one of its best starts in years and women’s cross country won an invitational event against multiple teams. To add to that, the outlook for all our athletic teams looks very bright. We have a huge and talented group of freshman student-athletes. This is a tribute to the recruiting efforts of our coaches and their assistants, under the leadership of Athletic Director Mike Allen. I wish all the teams luck and a healthy season for all our athletes. I hope everyone in the CUA community will make an effort to support them at the games.
  8. Playing Host to Cardinals. CUA Athletics wasn’t the only source of activity at DuFour during the month of September. The university played host to the Arizona Cardinals football team following their Sept. 21 game against the Washington Redskins. The Cardinals decided to remain on the East Coast because their game on the Sunday following the contest with Washington was in New Jersey with the New York Jets. For several days they conducted team practices at CUA’s Cardinal Stadium football field. We share more than a common athletic name with the Arizona team. It so happens that the president of the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Bidwill, is an alumnus of the Columbus School of Law (Class of 1990) and spoke there on Sept. 24. His mother, Nancy, is a trustee emeritus of the university.
  9. Honors. In early September we learned that CUA has been named as one of the “top wired” universities in the United States by PC Magazine and the Princeton Review. We were ranked No. 11 for our technological advancements. Congratulations to Zia Mafaher, chief information officer, and his managers and staff in the Center for Planning and Information Technology for this well-deserved recognition! This is the latest in a series of recent acknowledgments that the university has received. To see more, click here.

We are off to a great start this year. Let’s keep the momentum going. I shall be traveling off campus for most of October: alumni visits (especially in Seattle, Wash., and New York City), fundraising calls, service on various boards and some international travel. Time is flying … again! God bless you all.

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Last Revised 30-Sep-08 11:44 AM.