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April, 2019


Franny Murray

The last few nights have been a reminder that winter is coming! This is always such a spectacular time of year in Washington with the pageantry of changing colors on the trees and leaves falling all around us. The crisp mornings and evenings prepare us for what lies ahead (snow days off!!).

As promised in last month’s column, I am sharing with you our official enrollment figures for the 2008-2009 academic year. Our total enrollment is 6,705, up from 6,440 in 2007. Our undergraduate enrollment of 3,469 compares to 3,326 last year, and is the largest in the university’s history! And for the third year in a row, our freshman enrollment has broken all previous records. This year it stands at 908, compared to 864 last year. We can all be proud of this achievement, particularly Dr. Michael Hendricks, Ms. Christine Mica and all of the staff in the enrollment management office.

Another bit of good news to celebrate is the performance of our football team. The team is now 6-1 and in the hunt for a conference championship as the season enters the final stretch. The team put on an especially strong performance for our alumni during homecoming weekend with a 48-29 victory over Washington and Lee University and followed this up with a win over nationally ranked Hampden-Sydney College. The Cardinals have only one home game remaining on the schedule, Nov. 15 against Bridgewater. We hope many of you will be able to come out and support our senior student-athletes in their last home game. Hats off to Coach Dave Dunn, his staff and, especially, the team!

Since I’m on the topic of athletics, I want to mention that on Jan. 31, 2009, we will be naming the CUA basketball court in honor of legendary equipment manager Franny Murray. Franny has been part of the CUA community for more than five decades as a student, athlete, employee, mentor and friend. We are planning a number of events to celebrate this honor, including a naming ceremony at halftime of the basketball game on Jan. 31, followed by a dinner reception in Franny’s honor. Registrations for these events can be made online by visiting www.cuatoday.com/franny.  For questions about the event or to receive a registration form in the mail, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations.

James Brennan and Julie Englund joined Father O'Connell for a meeting at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

October has been a busy travel month for me. I shared some of that time on the road with Provost James Brennan, Treasurer Julie Englund and Vice President Robert Sullivan. As the month began, I visited alumni and benefactors in Seattle, Wash., and addressed the Legatus convention there as a member of a panel of Catholic university and college presidents. My return to D.C. was brief and Dr. Brennan, Dr. Englund, Mr. Sullivan and I soon headed across the Atlantic to Rome and Lviv, Ukraine. (To read more on these travels and view photos, click here.)  Again, a brief return to campus was followed by more travel, this time to New York City for multiple meetings and some contact visits with university benefactors. Needless to say, it was good to come home, although I returned with a dreadful cold.

As circumstances warrant, I will be keeping you apprised of how we are monitoring the national financial crisis and any decisions that I make regarding how CUA is navigating it. I am deeply grateful for the work being done in our finance offices by dedicated staff members. I do not think we have reason to panic but I must say that we cannot anticipate “business as usual” for the next year or two. I will be depending upon everyone’s (and I mean everyone’s) patience and cooperation.

We begin the month of November commemorating the heroes of our Catholic faith: the saints and the holy souls in purgatory. On Monday, Nov. 3, the university community is invited to join in prayer for all our beloved dead at Mass in Caldwell Chapel at 12:15 p.m.

Election Day is then fast upon us, an exciting time to be in Washington, D.C. Later that day, I will meet with the papal nuncio and the secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to begin planning a symposium to be held at CUA in the spring. The topic will be “healthy secularism,” a concept discussed by Pope Benedict XVI.

The following day, Nov. 5, Frank Persico and I will head to Houston, the site of the April 2009 American Cardinals Dinner, to meet with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, our alumnus and trustee, and the dinner leadership committee.

Upon my return, I will begin a series of meetings with university offices in an effort to encourage better service to and within our university community. Recent complaints have brought some areas of operation to my attention. But, as I have discovered often during my 11 years here, there are always two sides to every complaint. At any rate, we always need to keep good service uppermost in our minds.

The annual bishops meeting begins in Baltimore on Monday, Nov. 10, and I will address the full body of bishops that morning. The purpose of my address is to share with all the American bishops the “state of the university” that they sponsor.

The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music welcomes its accrediting agency for a site visit and review that same week. Best wishes to Dean Murry Sidlin, faculty, staff and students of our exceptional school of music!

On Nov. 15, I’ll travel to New York to preach and celebrate Mass and give an address to the Knights of Malta American Association. The School of Theology and Religious Studies and I will be collaborating with the Knights of Malta and Telecare in New York early in 2009 on the production of a series of DVDs on the Catholic Catechism. We are currently in the discussion stages.

At a Nov. 18 annual dinner we will offer well-deserved recognition to our 10- and 20-year employees for their service to CUA. On Nov. 20, I will host a cocktail reception in the Great Room of the Pryz for the dean, faculty and staff of the School of Arts and Sciences as we conclude their 100th anniversary. What a great contribution that school has made to the Church and nation over the past century! Thank you and congratulations to the faculty and staff — past and present — as we look to the future together.

And then it’s “Turkey Day” and the occasion for all of us to give thanks for God’s many blessings. We do, indeed, need to stop and express our gratitude to God and to one another. And I, for one, am most grateful to all of you!  Enjoy the holidays and may God bless you all.


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Last Revised 31-Oct-08 11:14 AM.