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July, 2019

  The Rembrandt etching found in Nugent Hall by Father O'Connell.

Greetings to all. Rembrandt here! What a great story that grew legs of its own. I could not believe the attention my discovery garnered everywhere, including Europe and Asia! Voice of America came last week to do a 20-minute interview! Check out the Rembrandt and the rest of the exhibit in the May Gallery if you get the chance. And remember to wash your hands … you never know what you might find in the bathroom!

The beginning of February finds me in Panama for meetings with my confrere Vincentians. It is 96 degrees and very humid there. If I were on a beach, you would have reason to be jealous. Alas, I am in a conference room at one of our religious houses and, probably like many of you this winter, only dreaming of the beach! 

The month of January always seems to drag on (to me, anyway!). And, yet, we had some good things happen last month that are worth noting. The annual March for Life was a great success, with 543 of our students participating — the largest group ever. With the careful planning of Father Bob and the Office of Campus Ministry staff, CUA hosted more than 1,800 young people and visitors from all over the country. Our students’ enthusiasm is infectious and I felt so proud to march with them again in so important a cause!

For the nine days preceding the March, CUA conducted a novena of prayer and action for the people of Haiti devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Again, our students demonstrated their commitment to people in need by raising more than $28,000 for our sisters and brothers in Haiti. With matching funds that I was able to set aside, CUA sent a check for $60,000 to Catholic Relief Services. Add to that the prayers and concern expressed during these days and no one can doubt that “CUA Cares.” Thank you to everyone who contributed.

CUA students at the March for Life.

At a Jan. 16 luncheon attended by more than 200 alumni, CUA’s Department of Athletics honored alumni who achieved significant accomplishments in athletics during their time here. Dr. Michael Allen, CUA’s athletic director, was the perfect host as he welcomed our guests, presented the awards and premiered a new video about our athletic programs. Congratulations to all our CUA athletes, past and present, as we continue to build a future of which we can be proud. And thanks to Mike and the coaching and support staff, who are incredibly generous with their time and talent. I will be hosting the NCAA Division III presidents in the Landmark Conference for dinner in my residence on Feb. 3, following my return from Panama.

We continue to move forward with our plans for South Campus. I met recently with Jim Abdo of Abdo Development, with whom we have partnered in the project, to check on our progress. Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Cathy Wood has been chairing a committee that has the charge of keeping the project on track. Everyone involved in this initiative continues to be upbeat about our moving forward. By the end of next year, Conaty, Spellman and Spalding residence halls will only be a memory!

Another committee has been hard at work considering our student residential needs for the next academic year and the years following. I met with them on Jan. 27 to receive their proposals, which I am now reviewing carefully. We need to be careful not to “overbuild” while trying to provide appropriate housing for our students. Obviously, the priority must remain freshmen and sophomores, who are required to live on campus. No one can predict our future needs but we want to be as well prepared as possible to serve as many students as possible. I hope to have a resolution to present to the Office of Housing Services very soon.

  Father Pritzl delivers the homily at the university Mass for the patronal feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

On Jan. 28, CUA celebrated the patronal feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Crypt Church of the basilica. We were joined in the celebration, as always, by the community of the Dominican House of Studies. Academic Dean Father Gabriel O’Donnell, O.P., was the celebrant of the Mass and our own dean of the School of Philosophy, Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., preached the homily. Many of our faculty attended in academic regalia, along with students and other staff. This is always a great occasion for the CUA community and it was even more special with Father Pritzl and his superb homily!  (Click here to read the text of the homily. Click here to see a video and a slideshow of the Mass.)

Speaking of Father Pritzl, he has arranged for CUA to host his Dominican confrere Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, on Feb. 3. A theologian of great renown, Cardinal Schönborn will lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Pryz. This address will be worth attending!

On Feb. 11, I will confer an honorary degree on Mrs. Ida Cammon Robinson, one of the first African-American women to graduate from our School of Nursing. She will be celebrating her 90th birthday on that day, too!

On Feb. 12, I will leave for Los Angeles to speak at the inauguration of the new president of Thomas Aquinas College. Following that event, Vice President for Development Bob Sullivan and I will visit with alumni and donors for a few days. On Sunday, Feb. 14, I will celebrate the 11:30 a.m. Mass at St. Monica Catholic Church in Los Angeles, followed by an alumni brunch organized by Director of Alumni Relations Marion Gosney.

Returning on Ash Wednesday for a few days back home, I will then gear up for an annual fundraising swing through the west coast of Florida. I am scheduled to give a keynote address at a conference there on Feb. 28.

People ask me about the search for my successor but I really don’t know anything other than what Archbishop Allen Vigneron, chair of the search, has told me: We have some very good candidates! People also ask about my future plans. I know even less! I “wait in joyful hope,” with no particular hurry or anxiety. As the students say, “Whatever!”

So 2010 is off to a good start! Thanks to everyone for the continued good work. God bless you and I’ll catch you around the campus! 

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Last Revised 01-Feb-10 09:08 AM.