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October, 2019

  President Garvey greets an alumna during the pre-game tent party during Homecoming and Reunions Weekend.

In last month’s column I previewed Homecoming and Reunions Weekend, noting how important it is for me and others at the University to connect with our alumni. I’m pleased to report that the weekend (Oct. 1-3) was a great success. We had a terrific turnout. There were more than 1,260 alumni in attendance; at reunion class events we had twice as many attendees as last year. I appreciated having the opportunity to meet so many alumni.

Every week brings new experiences for me on and off campus. On Sunday, Oct. 3, I attended the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. That’s the annual Mass for lawyers and judges that traditionally precedes a new session of the U.S. Supreme Court. This year five of the nine justices of the Court were in attendance. I did one of the readings at the Mass, and I couldn’t help thinking how nice it was to have a majority of the Supreme Court listening so carefully to what I had to say.

Oct. 6-9 I travelled to Phoenix and Los Angeles. When I was first named as CUA’s President in June I said that one of the issues I would be focusing on is recruiting more Hispanic/Latino students. The ethnic makeup of the Catholic Church in the United States is changing, and it is important for Catholic University to mirror the American Catholic community of the 21st century. To that end, my program included meetings with Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez, both members of our Board of Trustees; a group of Latino business leaders; and the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I had good discussions with all of them, but of course this is only a first step. In addition to increasing the ethnic diversity of CUA, it would be beneficial to increase the geographic diversity of our student population – in particular, to attract more students from west of the Rockies – so my meetings served a dual purpose.

President Garvey, center, moderates a panel with former solicitors general Paul Clement and Seth Waxman.
On Oct. 12 I moderated a well-attended discussion about the U.S. Supreme Court between two former U.S. Solicitors General at the Columbus School of Law. Seth Waxman and Paul Clement represented the federal government before the Supreme Court, one during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the other during the administration of George W. Bush.

The following day I got my first look inside D.C.’s National Press Club. Stephen Schneck, who leads our Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, invited me to give the introduction at a news conference that IPR co-hosted on the impact of religious issues and religious voters in the November elections.

On Oct. 22 I visited the School of Architecture and Planning. I listened to a presentation at the Crough Center by the faculty about CUAdc, an initiative by the school to provide students with opportunities to work on design projects through service to local nonprofit groups. It’s an impressive initiative that fits well with the service aspect of our mission and strengthens our ties to the D.C. community. While I was at the architecture school, I also met with members of its development board.

As the month wound down I had the opportunity to meet a number of our neighbors, including some of the youngest, at the annual Halloween on Campus for local-area children and their parents. Hundreds of our own students and neighbors participated. It was great fun and, like CUAdc, another opportunity for CUA to connect with the community beyond campus.

And to finish off the month in grand style, on Oct. 29 I had a walk-on part, mercifully brief (for the audience) though memorable (for me), in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music’s production of the opera The Magic Flute.

This month I will be on the road quite a bit. On Nov. 3, I will be at Carnegie Hall to hear members of our CUA Orchestra perform. I will also use the occasion to meet with New York-area alumni. On Nov. 6-7 I will be in South Bend, Ind., to root for our men’s basketball team as they play their counterparts from the University of Notre Dame. We expect a good turnout of our alums from across the country for the game. I look forward to meeting them.

On Nov. 15 I will address the meeting of the Catholic bishops of the United States in Baltimore. The following day I will host the president of Ukrainian Catholic University. And then I’m off to Rome for the consistory. After I arrive on the 18th I hope to meet with a number of Vatican officials from the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On the 20th I will witness two of our alumni — Cardinal-designate Donald Wuerl and Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke — receive their red hats from Pope Benedict XVI. The fact that the two Americans whom the Holy Father is elevating to the College of Cardinals both happen to be alumni and university trustees (one former, one current) brings home to me yet again the unique nature of The Catholic University of America.

After the consistory, I hope to travel to Philadelphia to meet with a group of CUA alumni on Nov. 23.

Looking down the road a bit, I can tell you that the presidential inauguration committee headed by Vice President for University Relations and Chief of Staff Frank Persico has already reoriented itself to the new date of Jan. 25 for my inauguration and has the situation well in hand. An Inauguration website will be unveiled after the Thanksgiving holidays.

As I indicated in last month’s column, I have established several new planning committees. The first, co-chaired by Associate Professor of Economics Maria Sophia Aguirre and Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Victor Nakas, is responsible for programming related to the inaugural year theme of “Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University.” Additional information about its work will be forthcoming as plans take shape. The second, co-chaired by Architecture and Planning Dean Randall Ott and Web Content Editor Bart Pollock, has been charged with planning for the university’s 125th anniversary celebration.

I hope that Thanksgiving will be an occasion for all of you to reconnect with family and friends and, most especially, to give thanks to God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us.

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Last Revised 01-Nov-10 08:58 AM.