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June, 2019

Prospective students and their families gather in front on McMahon Hall on Odyssey Day.

It’s a little hard to believe, but this is probably the last column I will write for Inside CUA. In fact, I’ve now entered the “season of lasts”: This past month, I said my last Mass with the students in the House and I co-hosted my last American Cardinals Dinner. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be presiding at my last Commencement as president and, at the end of that day, take my last annual walk around campus with Father Bob as we each enjoy our final post-Commencement cigar. I think when we take that final stroll around campus, Father Bob and I will share some laughs, but mostly sweet reminiscences of our days here. We’ll recall the people who touched our lives and whose lives we touched, and wonder how the time flew by so quickly.

We have finished off the academic year in fine form, with a very positive visit by the Middle States accreditation team, an Odyssey Day for admitted students that promises to bring us a stellar Class of 2014, and another million-dollar fundraising success to support student scholarships courtesy of the Cardinals Dinner.

Speaking of Odyssey Day, this year marked the 10th anniversary of this annual event for admitted students. It was a wonderful success with a record number of new students — 823 — and their families on campus. Our current CUA students also participated in record numbers, with 51 student organizations represented at the Student Life Fair. The faculty and staff of every academic department and many student life offices planned presentations and lectures to showcase the opportunities at CUA.

The life of the mind continues to thrive on campus. In addition to our “bread and butter” — the important courses we offer and the associated teaching, learning and research that goes with them — this semester we have been staging special symposia and panel discussions, on topics ranging from the Catholic perspective on nuclear arms policy to sacred architecture to the Hispanic presence in the Washington, D.C., area. It gladdens my heart to see the university so vibrant.

It goes without saying that the spiritual life on campus is a star that has shined ever so brightly, thanks to Father Bob and his staff. I was reminded of that yet again when I celebrated the House Mass on April 20. The modest space in the House was jampacked with a couple hundred students. Students coming in droves to a Tuesday night Mass says a lot about the Catholic character of our campus. I am confident Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., our new campus minister, will be able to build on the great spiritual work that Father Bob and his staff have been able to accomplish over 12 years.

Lights will soon be added to illuminate Cardinal Stadium for night games and evening practices.
I’ve commented on the life of the mind and the soul here at CUA this year. The only thing missing is an observation on the life of the body — in this case our university athletics, which draw so many students to the university. I am pleased to announce that through the generous support of our alumni and friends, we are able to continue the ongoing enhancements to our athletic facilities this summer. Specifically, we will be adding permanent lights to Cardinal Stadium, making some significant aesthetic improvements to the fencing around the DuFour Center, and adding bleachers at the soccer field. We have also begun working with an architectural firm to develop long-term plans for expansion of and improvements to the locker rooms in DuFour. As always, we are very grateful to our many donors who have helped make these things possible.

I also would like to wish our spring sports teams luck as they head into their postseason tournaments. Special congratulations to our softball and men’s lacrosse teams who have both set program records for number of wins in a season, as well as to the women’s lacrosse and baseball teams, who both have high hopes for postseason success.

If all goes as planned, the June 8 meeting of the Board of Trustees will be my last one. Hopefully at that time the board will finalize, or come close to finalizing, the selection of my successor.

I trust that I will have the opportunity to say goodbye to many of you in the coming weeks as I walk about the campus. To those of you whom my path will not cross before I take my final leave of campus, I wish to say that I hope you treasure or will come to treasure your experience at this great university — whether you’re a student, faculty member or staff member — as much as I do treasure the privilege of having been its president. May God bless you in all your future endeavors.

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Last Revised 30-Apr-10 10:18 AM.