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October, 2019

President Garvey at his inauguration on Jan. 25.

I’ve only been inaugurated once, so I can’t claim to be an expert. But I think those who gathered in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last week for my presidential inauguration will agree that they took part in a stupendous, well-organized, truly celebratory event.

As I said to a group after the event, all I had to do was show up and give a talk. Others did the work. Those “others” whose common efforts ensured the success of the inauguration are too numerous to list by name. Nevertheless, I would like to mention two groups. One is the faculty and students of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music who provided the sacramental music for the inauguration Mass. The choir, choruses, and symphony orchestra under the direction of professors Leo Nestor and David Searle were sublime. We displayed our exceptional musical gifts as perhaps no other Catholic university can do, not only to those gathered in the Basilica, but also to a worldwide audience watching the broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network.

The second group I want to recognize is the Inauguration Day Committee, led by Vice President Frank Persico. Drawing upon the talents of staff from a number of offices across campus — alumni, campus ministry, facilities maintenance and operations, the president’s office, public affairs, and student life — this committee did a magnificent job of putting together a complex event and making it look seamless. On this day, I think we showed the world that our role as the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States is a mantle that can fit us quite comfortably.

There are different ways to mark a presidential inauguration. The Mass and installation ceremony on January 25 were the most important. Jeanne and I also had a wonderful time at the Inaugural Ball on January 28. So many students, all looking so pretty and handsome. I was greatly impressed at how beautifully the students organized the ball. I was also gratified by all the good wishes I received from the students and, earlier in the day, from the faculty and staff who gathered at a reception to greet Jeanne and me.

One of my early goals as the 15th President of Catholic University was to ensure that whatever theme I settled on for my inauguration wouldn’t begin and end with inauguration day or inauguration week. Instead, I invited the University community to join me in exploring the theme I chose — Intellect and Virtue: the Idea of a Catholic University — throughout the semester. This goal is coming to fruition and I want to describe some of the ways it will be happening.

Faculty Roundtable
The faculty roundtable on faith and intellect.
The first event of the semester was the January 18 faculty roundtable on faith and intellectual life. Professors Sokolowski, Brown, Capizzi, Cederna, Silecchia, and Suarez shared their perspectives. I was chagrined to have missed it due to the sudden death of a close family member. But there was a great turnout, and I know from seeing the video that the presentations by each of the faculty members were carefully considered and insightful. I’m very happy this first event was so successful and I hope it will be the norm for the events that follow. You can watch the roundtable online or read the remarks of each of the roundtable participants.

Lecture Series
Following on the theme of the faculty roundtable, we have put together a lecture series featuring some prominent intellectuals (mostly but not all Catholic) from a variety of academic disciplines to talk about the role their religious ideas and commitments play in their professional lives. They are:

  • February 9, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, archbishop of Volokolamsk, who is an acclaimed Russian Orthodox theologian and musical composer.  His multimedia presentation on The Intersection of Music and Faith will come just two days after the English-language U.S. premiere of the metropolitan’s St. Matthew Passion in New York City.

  • February 28, Dana Gioia, poet and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. He will lecture on The Catholic Writer Today. This event was originally scheduled for Jan. 26 but had to be postponed because of a snowstorm.

  • March 22, Martin Nowak, director, Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University. He will address the interplay between faith and science with a presentation on evolution and Christianity.

  • April 19, Janne Haaland Matlary, professor of international politics at the University of Oslo and former deputy foreign minister of Norway.  She will address the interplay between faith and politics in a talk titled When Might Becomes Human Rights.

  • April 27, Rev. Ian Ker, senior research fellow at Oxford University and the leading authority on Cardinal John Henry Newman. He will talk on Newman’s Idea of a University – Some Misunderstandings.

All of the lectures will begin at 4:15 p.m. Metropolitan Hilarion’s talk will take place in Caldwell Auditorium; the others will be held in the Pryzbyla Center Great Room.

Virtues Progamming
The lecture series I have just described focuses heavily on the intellect. But since the inaugural year theme is “intellect and virtue” we have also endeavored to tie our programming, especially though not exclusively aimed at students, to the four cardinal virtues. In each month of the spring semester we are celebrating one of the virtues.

President Garvey, center, with members of the CUA football team during the Martin Luther King Day of Service.
The cardinal virtue for January was justice. Practicing virtue can be a lot of fun. Jeanne and I took great pleasure in participating in the Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 17 (I joined members of CUA’s football team in painting at Ketcham Elementary School) and the March for Life on January 24. Both of these events underscored the virtue of justice.

We’re trying to emphasize these virtues in different ways. For example, last week in the Pryz I hope you had a chance to watch the video of two of our professors — Linda Plitt Donaldson (Social Work) and Maryann Cusimano Love (Politics) — talking about justice. We also featured a reflection on justice written by Professor Brian Engelland (Business and Economics) and sent to the University community.

We hope to do the same thing in February as we explore the cardinal virtue of prudence. You can find the full list of activities for February listed on the Cardinal Virtues page of the CUA website.

I would like to jump ahead to April, which will be the final month of virtues programming. April will feature the virtue of fortitude. The key event will be the April 13 presentation of the Cardinal Medal for Fortitude to a CUA student, faculty, and staff member. An e-mail was sent out about this to the campus community yesterday. I wish to emphasize that everyone is invited to nominate worthy candidates. Nominations must be submitted by February 18.

April Symposium
Another high point of the semester of inaugural events will come on April 11-12, when CUA will organize and host a two-day
symposium to examine the ways in which virtue shapes how we learn and what we learn. During those two days, renowned scholars will gather to discuss virtue and intellect at Catholic universities, and how they influence those universities’ intellectual, faith, and social life.

The presidents of eight U.S. Catholic higher education institutions (Boston College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Georgetown University, Providence College, St. Thomas Aquinas College, University of Dallas, University of Notre Dame, and Villanova University) and two overseas institutions (Catholic University of Korea and Ukrainian Catholic University) joined an advisory committee I formed to assist me in planning this symposium. Several of those presidents will participate in the symposium. I have received invaluable help in symposium planning from Professors Maria Sophia Aguirre (Business and Economics) and William Mattison (Theology and Religious Studies). Though we hope to attract participants from throughout the U.S., the symposium will be open to all CUA students, faculty, and staff who pre-register. Like all other inaugural year events, it will be free.
Other Intellectual and Virtuous Pursuits 
All of the events I have described are being organized or coordinated by a hard-working and dedicated committee co-chaired by Dr. Aguirre and Victor Nakas. I should like to also acknowledge some other activities that come under the umbrella of our inaugural year theme. The initiative for these has come from other areas of the University.

The first is a series of Faculty Seminars on Catholic Social Teachings and Public Policy, beginning February 3 and continuing throughout the semester. Hosted by the provost's office and the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR), the seminars are open to faculty only. Topics include life issues, environment, health care, poverty, social and economic justice, and immigration. IPR will also host a May conference to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum, a document central to Catholic social teaching on the rights of workers.

The second comes from our CUA Libraries. They have put together a very comprehensive guide to books on Cardinal Newman, the cardinal virtues, faculty roundtable members, and lecture series speakers. If any of our upcoming programs piques your interest, you will know where to go for more information. It’s beautifully done. I salute the provost's office, IPR, and the Libraries and thank them for their efforts.

A Final Word
If you’ve read this far, I must say that I am impressed. I apologize for going on so long but I wanted to take this opportunity to lay out for all of you the breadth and depth of special programming this semester. I hope you will give serious consideration to attending several of the events I have described.

Of course there is life beyond the inaugural year theme. I would like to conclude with two items related to athletics. This past weekend I attended the celebration of a century of basketball at CUA. At halftime of the men’s basketball game between CUA and Juniata, we recognized the University’s 1,000-point scorers, basketball Hall of Fame members, and the 2001 men’s team, the only national championship team in school history. Following the game, more than 225 basketball alumni and supporters attended a reception inside the Pryzbyla Center to look back on the people and events that make up the 100 years of CUA basketball. Speakers included Athletics Director Mike Allen, Coach Steve Howes, and via videotape, Mike Lonergan, coach of our 2001 national championship team.

The second athletics event begins today. We welcome to CUA’s campus the presidents, athletic directors, chief communications officers, and student athletes from all eight conference institutions for the 2011 Landmark Conference Symposium, hosted by our Department of Athletics. Today and tomorrow the group will discuss how to advance the NCAA Division III platform, brand the Landmark Conference, and customize promotional messages to highlight the Division III experience and meet the needs of the conference schools.

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Last Revised 01-Feb-11 08:53 AM.